Warming Above 1.5C Likely in Near Term Unless World Acts Now, UN Says

(Bloomberg) -- The world’s leading climate science body, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, on Monday summarized five years of its own research across some 10,000 pages with a stark warning: Burning fossil fuels threatens human well-being and the stability of much of life on Earth, and the chance of avoiding the most severe impacts is fast moving out of reach.

It’s the final statement published in this current cycle of landmark studies and by far the most succinct, weighing in at 37 pages that are meant to inform policymakers.

“This report is a clarion call to massively fast-track climate efforts by every country and every sector and on every timeframe,” said UN Secretary General António Guterres in a statement on the report’s release. “In short, our world needs climate action on all fronts — everything, everywhere, all at once.”

The report underscores a handful of points about climate change and its impacts:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activity have unequivocally caused global warming, and emissions have continued to rise, with some countries and groups contributing far more than others.
  • The world must cut greenhouse gas emissions to 60% below 2019 levels by 2035.
  • “Widespread and rapid” changes to planetary systems have already taken place, their impacts disproportionately affecting the world’s at-risk populations. More than 3 billion people are highly vulnerable to climate change.
  • Climate adaptation has advanced, but not enough. Current levels of funding are insufficient. Increased warming will make adaptation harder.
  • Although policies to mitigate climate change have expanded, it’s likely that the world will exceed 1.5C of warming “in the near term.” Limiting warming to 1.5C or 2C will require deep emissions cuts across the economy this decade. If the world ov