Climate justice is essential if we are to succeed in preventing global warming of 1.5 to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. This is a point that receives far greater attention in the new Working Group II contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report than in previous reports.
Photo: EU/ECHO/Anouk Delafortrie
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the second part of its Sixth Assessment Report on 28 February 2022. Since the previous report was published in 2014, climate change has become ever more obvious. This is reflected both in the scientific literature and in people’s experiences around the world. Increased occurences of extreme weather events such as floods, heatwaves and associated wildfires, storms and hurricanes are all examples that have dominated the news media in recent years.Read More
When the first part of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) was released last summer, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres declared “Code Red for humanity”. The report documented that climate change is more extensive and occurs more rapidly than previously assumed, and showed the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In this blog post, seven authors of the second part of the AR6, reflect on documented consequences of climate change and what is required to minimize future loss and damage.
Flooding in Gonaïves, Haiti after Hurricane Tomas in 2010. Informal, densely populated urban areas like this are among those most vulnerable to future climate change. PHOTO: UN/Marco Dormino CC-BY-NC-ND
The average temperature on Earth is now 1.1°C warmer than when industrialization began in around 1850, and the warming has been particularly great in the northernmost areas of the world. The rise in temperature and the associated melting of glaciers, sea-level rise, and increased incidence of extreme weather events are caused primarily by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now higher than at any time in the past two million years.Read More
Concern over the impacts of climate change is rising globally, and often seen in relation to migration. Drawing on MIGNEX fieldwork in Keti Bandar, a Pakistani fishing port in the Indus river delta, we sketch observed climate change impacts and scope for local action.
Fishing boat on soil affected by increasing salination. Photo: Prithvi Raj for MIGNEX. CC BY-SA
What is today a fishing port that has seen sharp decline, was once a propsperous place, in Pakistan and the region. The glorious past is not ancient; stories of prosperity date from as late as the time of Pakistani independence in 1947. While the town was diverse, the Hindu trading community was an important source of capital, entrepreneurship and culture. Watered by the Indus, the hinterland was fertile.Read More
In the same manner as societies are developing policies to strike the optimal balance between public safety and social and economic cost of COVID-19, the international community is negotiating strategies to address climate change. However, unlike lockdowns, vaccination, and other responses to the ongoing pandemic, risk-reducing effects of alternative climate policies cannot be observed in real time. Instead, to assist decision-makers, scientists have developed a scenario framework that allows analyzing how different socioeconomic development pathways (SSPs) and global warming trajectories (RCPs) jointly may affect nature and society over the 21st century. Over the past handful of years, literally thousands of published studies have used the SSP-RCP scenario framework to explore implications of climate and societal change for a broad range of outcomes. Can we use the same approach to forecast climate change impacts on armed conflict?
Five years after the European migration and refugee crisis, displacement remains a pressing issue worldwide. According to the UNHCR, the global number of forcibly displaced people passed 80 million during 2020 – the highest estimate ever recorded. Several factors have contributed to this increase, including a rise in political violence and instability, extreme weather events, and – most recently – knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. With adverse impacts of climate change increasingly unfolding in real-time, concerns are mounting that the world will see a dramatic increase in migration in coming decades.
Migrants crossing the Greek countryside (CC BY)
The last decade was the warmest on record, with 2020 tied with 2016 for the all-time high average annual global temperature. This 10-year period also saw armed conflicts at severity levels not seen since the Cold War era. Could there be a causal link between these trends?
To the frustration of policymakers and laymen alike, empirical research has been unable to provide a simple and coherent answer to this question. Instead, studies of climate-conflict connections have for a long time continued to produce diverging findings and – occasionally – inspired heated debates. So, where do we stand?Read More