Climate Change Reaching the Point of No Return



A new report by the United Nations shines a light in the urgency of stopping global warming. Although everything is not lost, nations must  act right now in the hope of a better future.  


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We have run out of time to stop the intensification of global warming over the next 30 years. However, the Sixth Assessment Report by the United Nations has concluded there is still a little hope and a short window to prevent the most dreadful future. This year alone, we’ve experienced severe consequences to not taking care of our planet: Greece’s current heat wave that has sparked wildfires all over the country, forcing families to flee their homes to survive and temperatures reaching 46 – 47 degrees Celsius in the most heat – prone areas of the country. How can we forget the deadly floods swept through western Germany and parts of Belgium leaving over 100 victims?  And the severe heat waves in the U.S. and Canada heat waves that have killed hundreds of people.

According to the report, that addressed the most up – to – date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, even if nations started significantly cutting emissions right now, the temperature of the planet is likely to rise around 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next two decades. It is safe to save that a hotter future is ahead of us. Though 1.5 degrees may not seem much, scientists have discovered that the dangers grow meaningfully. We’re talking about 1 billion people worldwide suffering frequent life – threatening heat waves, millions struggling for water because of droughts, wildlife and plants disappearing and coral reefs massively dying off.  


“We can expect a significant jump in extreme weather over the next 20 or 30 years, things are unfortunately likely to get worse than they are today.” - Piers Forster, climate scientist at the University of Leeds and one of the experts who took part in the report.


The only way to prevent temperatures from rising is collective effort. Countries should halt their carbon dioxide emissions completely by 2050, which would entail a fast shift from fossil fuels to renewable energies starting immediately. If nations fail, temperatures will keep rising, more degrees having greater and deadlier consequences.  Ko Barrett, vice – chair of the panel and senior adviser for climate at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said there’s no going back from some changes but, emphasised emission cuts could really make a difference in the climate future we have ahead of us.


The Sixth Assessment Report has been approved by 195 governments and it’s based on more than 14,000 studies. It will serve as a pillar for the U.N. summit this November in Glasgow when diplomats gather to discuss how to step up their game and put an end to their carbon dioxide emissions. The 10 biggest emitters of greenhouse gases are China, the United States, the European Union, India, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, Iran and Canada. Considering the size of the countries, it could be said that more than have of the world is responsible for polluting.

The report states clearly that we, humans, are responsible for global warming, for the rise in global average temperature since the 19th century has been driven by fossil fuels, deforestation and loading the atmosphere with greenhouse gases that trap heat. This report is part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, created in 1988. It is expected that a second report will be released in 2022 detailing how climate change might affect coastal cities, farms, and healthcare systems, among others. A third report, expected in 2022 as well will explore strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and opportunities to stop global warming.


 +  Words: Ane Briones, Luxiders Magazine 

Journalism graduate | Basque Country based writer

IG: @anebriones