- On February 27, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a major report that reviewed the scientific evidence on natural, ecological, social and economic spheres, concluding that climate change has already produced irreversible losses and damage to land, coastal and marine ecosystems.
What is there in the report?
- The scientific assessment is that between 3.3 and 3.6 billion people “live in contexts that are highly vulnerable to climate change.”
- This includes people living along coastlines that are threatened by rising sea levels and extreme weather events such as cyclones and floods. Clearly, India has several populous coastal cities, including Mumbai and Chennai, which play an important role in manufacturing, exports and services, and the IPCC’s assessment points to the need for a policy review to help them adapt.
- less than 15% of the world’s land, 21% of the freshwater and 8% of the ocean are protected.
- Food production as a fundamental determinant of human well-being and progress faces a climate threat
- leading to malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Central and South America and Small Islands.
- In the current situation, between 3% and 14% of all species on earth face a very high risk of extinction at even 1.5°C, with devastating losses at higher temperatures.
- Some possible remedial measures are Heat Health Action Plans that include early warning and response systems for extreme heat.
- Water-borne and food-borne disease threats in populous settings can be met by improving access to potable water, reducing exposure of water and sanitation systems to flooding and extreme weather events, as well as improved early warning systems.
- The IPCC calls for mainstreaming of adaptation actions into institutional budget and policy planning, creating statutory processes, monitoring and evaluation frameworks and recovery measures during disasters
- There already exists a consensus that under existing pledges by governments who signed the Paris Agreement, this goal is impossible, and the average temperature could rise as high as 3°C, with catastrophic consequences.
- Climate Resilient Development is the answer, and it would align all pathways towards sharp cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, institution of measures to absorb much of the stock of CO2 in the atmosphere, and raise sufficient climate finance for adaptation.
Source: THE HINDU.