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Climate change roared back into the headlines on Monday, thanks to the release of the most comprehensive report on the state of the climate crisis in eight years.

The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is certainly alarming. Its outlines five potential scenarios over the near future, based on various levels of greenhouse gas emissions reduction. In all five pathways, the Earth crosses the 1.5 C warming threshold — one of the two levels in the Paris Agreement — during the 2030s.

The lesser of the Paris goals, limiting warming to less than 2 C, will not be possible in three of the five scenarios. This will mean longer and more intense heat waves, droughts and other bouts of extreme weather within decades. It will also mean more compounding disasters, with one crisis event feeding the next — not unlike the spring drought and extreme heat that created the perfect conditions for rapid and devastating wildfire spread in Western Canada.

In addition to projecting the future, the report takes stock of the current climate change situation. It finds that global warming is already accelerating, that trends around disappearing sea ice and rising water levels cannot be reversed for at least centuries, and that heat waves that used to occur every 50 years are now happening once a decade — and could occur more often than the Summer Olympics, if warming keeps up at its current pace.

It’s truly a sobering account of where the world stands and where it is going. What it’s not, though, is surprising.

Almost everything contained in the report’s 3,000-plus pages has been said before, although not all by the same people and not all in the same place.

None of this should seem new. Even the language used to describe it may be familiar to you. One of the headline-grabbing quotes from Monday came from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called the findings “code red for humanity” — not that different from the “red alert for our planet” that he sounded in February.

Link to the full reportFull IPCC Report


Source CTV News


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