The United Nations Environment Programme’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published, in November 2014, its Fifth Assessment Report on the effects of climate change in today’s environment and its potential future consequences. The latest report followed the pattern of the previous four reports, with its predictions growing ever more dire and the need for action ever more imminent. The report highlights a few key take aways:

  1. “Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.”
  2. Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions which, together with adaptation, can limit climate change risks.
  3. Adaptation and mitigation are complementary strategies for reducing and managing the risks of climate change. Substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades can reduce climate risks in the 21st century and beyond, increase prospects for effective adaptation, reduce the costs and challenges of mitigation in the longer term, and contribute to climate-resilient pathways for sustainable development.
  4. Many adaptation and mitigation options can help address climate change, but no single option is sufficient by itself. Effective implementation depends on policies and cooperation at all scales, and can be enhanced through integrated responses that link adaptation and mitigation with other societal objectives.

Read the key takeaways in a summary report at the IPCC’s website 

Read more about the report here 

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