Groups: Climate change action vital after IPCC report


THE Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Working Group 1 Report, which Philippine nongovernment organizations said “paints a grim scenario” highlights the urgent need to act on climate change to avoid the worst of climate impacts, local groups said on Monday, hours after the IPCC report’s release.

The report has confirmed that limiting global warming at 1.5 ºC is slipping beyond reach without immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in emissions and that “human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.”

The Climate Reality Project Philippines through Country Manager Nazrin Castro said just like the previous reports, the latest IPCC report paints a grim scenario of what the future holds if the global community fails to act with the urgency and scale needed to reduce and avoid greenhouse gas emissions.

“At this point, with all the scientific evidence we already have at our disposal, doing nothing means being complicit in burning our planet down,” she pointed out in a statement.

Nevertheless, Castro noted there’s a sliver of hope as the report itself stated.

“The report noted that we can still achieve 1.5 ºC if we can get to net-zero emissions by 2050. We’ve seen in the past year the growing number of countries and cities pledging for carbon neutrality by mid-century. We need more of these commitments. More importantly, we need concrete actions that will turn these commitments into reality,” she said.

She said the report should compel the Philippine Government to urgently complete the implementation plan for the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, which articulates the country’s commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent by 2030 with the support of the international community.

“These new scientific findings will likely speed up the global transition to a low-carbon economy that is now under way. We cannot be left behind. We trust that the Department of Finance and the Climate Change Commission will get the ball rolling on developing the country’s NDC Implementation Plan,” Castro said.

The  Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), for its part, said the first report, which focuses on the latest physical climate science, shows that “human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe and that evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened since the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).

“The product of 234 of the world’s leading scientists reviewing, assessing, debating and finalizing analysis of over 14,000 scientific research papers, six items stand out for the Philippines amidst a barrage of compelling scientific evidence,” said ICSC, asserting that the “unequivocal” terms indicate there is no wiggle room in interpreting the IPCC’s use of the word in AR6.

“It goes beyond what is already an unprecedented assertion reaffirming with high confidence the AR5 finding that there is a near-linear relationship between cumulative anthropogenic CO2 emissions and the global warming they cause.”

Breaching the Paris Agreement threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (°C) will impose far more severe impacts that will prove catastrophic to vulnerable communities around the world, as every additional increment of global warming, will increase changes in extremes, including the intensity and frequency of heatwaves, heavy precipitation, as well as droughts, the ICSC warned.

“AR6 rings the alarm bells stating we are today flirting with ‘tipping points,’ such as rapid ice sheet melt that could lead to catastrophic sea-level rise even before 2100,” it said.

According to ICSC, keeping to the 1.5˚C temperature threshold is urgent as the IPCC has reaffirmed the huge difference in impacts between 1.5 ºC and 2 ºC degrees of warming.

“In the long run, at least 3 meters of sea-level rise can be avoided if we limit warming to 1.5˚C instead of 2˚C. Limiting warming to 1.5°C would strongly reduce climate risks and avoid the most destructive impacts of climate change and reduce impacts by at least 50 percent compared to a 4°C world. This is true for heat waves, extreme precipitation and drought in drying regions,” the ICSC added.

According to ICSC, nevertheless, keeping to the 1.5˚C temperature threshold is within reach.

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