Heat waves, wildfires signal global warming: UN official

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Incheon (South Korea), Oct 1 (IANS) Scientists have been warning for years that the world can expect more extreme weather with climate change and that heat waves, wildfires and heavy rainfall all over the world underscore these warnings, a UN official said on Monday.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chief Hoesung Lee made these opening remarks at its 48th session that began in this South Korean town.

The IPCC representatives from 195 countries and leading scientists from around the world are meeting to examine evidence about the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

“Science alerts us to the gravity of the situation, but science also, and this special report in particular, helps us understand the solutions available to us.

The South Korean climate change expert was referring to a report, Global Warming of 1.5 AoC, a major scientific undertaking on the latest climate change research that will speak on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways.

The much-awaited final report will be made public after weeklong deliberation here on October 8. The report will show that 1.5 degrees will limit sea level rise and save homes of millions of people living on the coast.

The IPCC is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change.

The report will analyse the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.

Governments invited the IPCC to prepare the report in 2015 when they adopted the Paris Agreement to combat climate change.

The report, known as SR15, will be the main scientific input at the Talanoa Dialogue in the Katowice Climate Change Conference (COP24) in December in Poland.

“Governments have asked the IPCC for an assessment of warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius, its impacts and related emissions pathways, to help them address climate change,” Lee said.

“Together, we will produce a strong, robust and clear Summary for Policymakers that respond to the invitation of governments three years ago while upholding the scientific integrity of the IPCC,” he said.

The Paris Agreement sets a long-term goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees.

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Deputy Secretary General Elena Manaenkova told the meeting: “It is no surprise that this year is set to become one of warmest on record and we are seeing new records in long-term climate change indicators”.

“The greatest tragedy to those immediately affected is the extreme weather ranging from record heat in northern Europe to devastating floods in Japan, India, southeast Asia and the southeastern United States.”

“As far as WMO is concerned we need to step up action to help our members in assisting with climate resilient development,” she added.

United Nations Environment head Erik Solheim cautioned against imminent climate threats.

“Hugely important report on climate change coming: message again is clear, immediate and decisive action needed. There are no excuses!” he said in a tweet.

The IPCC was established by the UN Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization in 1988 to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies.

–IANS

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