New Delhi: “If we act now, we can still secure a liveable, sustainable future for all,” said Chair Hoesung Lee at the launch of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. The Synthesis Report that was released on the evening of March 20 is written by the world’s leading climate experts highlights the climate crisis that the world is going through. The report underlines the fact that the human health and ecosystems are under a lot of pressure as climate change instances like frequent heatwaves, heavier rainfall and other extreme weather events are increasing. The report stated that in every region, people are dying from extreme heat.
IPCC On Global Warming: Not Much Has Changed
In 2018, IPCC highlighted the unprecedented scale of the challenge required to global restrict warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Five years later, the report states that challenge has become even greater due to a continued increase in greenhouse gas emissions. It states that the pace and scale of what has been done so far, and current plans, are insufficient to tackle climate change.
IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee added that the aim of the Synthesis Report is to “Underscores the urgency of taking more ambitious action.”
Here are other important highlights from the report:
1. Climate Change Has Risked Lives Of Millions Of People: Approximately 3.3–3.6 billion people live in contexts that are highly vulnerable to climate change. Increasing weather and climate extreme events have exposed millions of people to acute food insecurity and reduced water security, with the largest adverse impacts observed in many locations and/or communities in Africa, Asia, Central and South America. The report also adds that between 2010 and 2020, human mortality from floods, droughts and storms was 15 times higher in highly vulnerable regions, compared to regions with very low vulnerability.
2. Climate Change Slowing World’s Efforts To Meet Sustainable Development Goals: Roughly half of the world’s population currently experience severe water scarcity for at least part of the year due to a combination of climatic and non-climatic drivers. The adverse events have reduced food security and affected water security across the regions, hindering efforts to meet Sustainable Development Goals for the world.
3. Every Region In The World To Face Increased Risk Due To Climate Change: The report states that in the near term, every region in the world is projected to face further increases in climate hazards, increasing multiple risks to ecosystems and humans. Hazards and associated risks expected in the near-term include an increase in heat-related human mortality and morbidity, food-borne, water-borne, and vector-borne diseases, mental health challenges, flooding in coastal and other low-lying cities and regions, biodiversity loss in land, freshwater and ocean ecosystems, and a decrease in food production in some regions.
4. Countries That Have Emitted The Least Are Suffering The Most: The report highlights the fact that climate change hits the most vulnerable people and ecosystems. Highlighting the fact, Aditi Mukherji, one of the Synthesis Report’s authors said that therefore climate justice is crucial because those who have contributed the least to climate change are being disproportionately affected.
5. Key Takeaways For India: The report stated that India which has a large vulnerable population must prioritise its grants and policies around them to mitigate the impact of climate change on these communities as people in highly vulnerable areas are up to 15 times more likely to die in floods, droughts, storms (compared to those in in most resilient areas).
Talking about the importance of fundings for the vulnerable population and why it is important, Prof Joyashree Roy, Energy Economics Programme, Asian Institute of Technology, one of the authors of this report, said,
Redistributive policies across sectors and regions that shield the poor and the vulnerable are extremely important. All these can help in achieving higher and deeper ambition and reduce many of the trade-offs or negative impacts on the way to sustainable development. In this report, we talk of loss and damages to biodiversity, livelihood, water security, energy security, etc. So it must be every country’s priority to minimize the loss and damage to this.
Another author, Dr Aditi Mukherji, Director, Climate Change Impact platform, Consultative Group in International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), said almost half of the world’s population lives in regions that are highly vulnerable to climate change. She added,
Even though India’s per capita emissions are less, and India has historically much less responsibility but the reality is India is at the forefront of impacts. We simply cannot say that because we haven’t emitted much, we are not the ones to take action. I think the report makes it clear. Everybody has to take action according to their national context and circumstances urgently.
5. World Needs To Find Sustainable Solutions And Increase Funding For Climate Action: The report underlines the importance of finding sustainable solutions in order to reduce climate change crisis. It states that more than a century of burning fossil fuels as well as unequal and unsustainable energy and land use has led to global warming of 1.1° Celsius above pre-industrial levels. All this has resulted in more frequent and intense extreme weather events that have wreaked havoc on nature and people in every region of the world.
The researchers in the report have highlighted that the solution lies in climate resilient development, which involves integrating measures to adapt to climate change with actions to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in ways that provide wider benefits. Giving an example, the report stated, there should be access to clean energy and technologies, we should look out for ways of low-carbon electrification by opting for habits like walking, cycling and choosing public transport. All these small changes not only enhance air quality, but also improves health of the people.
The report further states that the economic benefits for people’s health from air quality improvements alone would be roughly the same, or possibly even larger than the costs of reducing or avoiding emissions.
It also said that the choices made in the next few years will play a critical role in deciding the future.
India Welcomes The Findings Of IPCC Report
After the release of the report, India has welcomed the findings of IPCC report, saying it endorses the country’s call for equity and climate justice. Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said the report echoes the vision of ‘Mission LiFE’ launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2022 and the call for a global mass movement for inducing behavioural changes focused on “mindful and deliberate utilization” of resources.
In a series of tweets, Mr Yadav also said,
India welcomes the Synthesis Report of the Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC (AR6-SYR). The report confirms climate change as one of the key environmental challenges facing humanity. The Synthesis Report for Policy Makers endorses India’s call for equity and climate justice.
View His Post
India welcomes the Synthesis Report of the Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC (AR6-SYR). The report confirms climate change as one of the key environmental challenges facing humanity.
The Synthesis Report for Policy Makers endorses India’s call for equity and climate justice.
— Bhupender Yadav (@byadavbjp) March 20, 2023
Talking about the financial support, he said that scientists confirmed that financial support from developed to developing countries is a critical enabler of climate action highlighting that current flows are inadequate. He further added,
This includes the promised-but-never-received US $100 billion.
Scientists confirmed that financial support from developed to developing countries is a critical enabler of climate action highlighting that current flows are inadequate. This includes the promised-but-never-received US $100 billion.
— Bhupender Yadav (@byadavbjp) March 20, 2023
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.