Australian scientists have stressed it is “not too late” to take action to stem the worst of the climate crisis and called on leaders to “wake up” after a landmark global science report found widespread and rapid changes were already occurring across the planet.
The latest assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading authority on climate science, found human activities were unequivocally heating the planet and causing changes not seen for centuries and in some cases thousands of years.
Human-induced climate change is already affecting weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe, helping cause increased heatwaves, heavier rainfall events and more intense droughts and tropical cyclones, the report found.
Dr Joëlle Gergis, of the Australian National University and a lead author of the report’s chapter on changes in rainfall, said 1.5C was “very likely” to be breached by the early 2030s. She said the report should be “a wake-up call for the world” ahead of the UN’s Cop26 climate summit scheduled for Glasgow in November.
“What happens there determines the future of humanity,” she said.
“If this report, and the evidence from around the world right now, does not convince this generation of political leaders that we have to stabilise the climate then I don’t think anything else will. This is as clear as we can be. Now it’s up to our political leaders to act.”