Quantcast
Climate

IPCC Report Another Wake Up Call for Immediate Climate Action

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its latest assessment of what science is telling us about the state of our planet. Researchers are more certain than ever before that humans are causing climate change and that some of its most dangerous impacts are accelerating faster than expected.

Many Americans already know this to be true. We have seen our own communities pummeled by more intense and more frequent heat waves, droughts and storms. But even as we witness one record-breaking event after another, we count on scientists to interpret the larger trends. The IPCC is the most authoritative group in the business. 

More than 600 researchers from 32 countries reviewed more than 9,000 peer-reviewed studies for this report. They produced 2,000 pages of scientific analysis and worked through 56,000 comments. The assessment they produced is sweeping, comprehensive and inescapable.

The science is clear: we are gambling with the well-being of our kids and future generations.

 

Pollution from human activities is changing the Earth’s climate. We see the damage that a disrupted climate can do: on our coasts, our farms, forests, mountains and cities. Those impacts will grow more severe unless we start reducing global warming pollution now.

The IPCC panel noted, for instance, that seas could rise by three feet by the end of this century if we don’t rein in dangerous carbon pollution. Imagine what this could mean. Children born today might witness Miami becoming part of the Everglades, New Orleans sinking underwater and parts of New York looking more like Venice.

Some naysayers have pounced on reports that the rise in surface temperature was slower in the past 15 years than over the past 50 years. They leap from this to an unscientific claim that global warming is no longer a threat. The world’s scientists know this is nonsense.

Researchers will continue to refine the details of the interplay between natural cooling cycles and human-caused warming. But here is what we already know: the planet has not cooled. It has continued to warm, and the last decade was the hottest on record since 1850—even with two cooling cycles of La Niña.

Treating a temporary slowdown as a miracle that will save us from climate disruption would be the height of folly. The science tells us that if we fail to reduce global warming pollution, global temperatures will rise to dangerous levels and unleash devastating extreme weather events and accelerate destructive sea level rise. A few years of steady temperatures at record high levels won’t prevent the collision that awaits us.

Regardless of whether our car is speeding at 90 miles an hour or 85 miles an hour, we are still in the danger zone. The time has come to put on the brakes.

The single most important thing we can do to protect our communities from climate change is to reduce dangerous carbon pollution. Here in the U.S., power plants account for the largest source of these emissions—40 percent—yet plants are free to pump as much carbon as they want into the atmosphere. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to end the era of unlimited carbon now.

The Obama administration has begun this process. Last week it proposed the first-ever carbon limits for new power plants. Now it is preparing similar limits for existing power plants. States and utilities will likely have a great deal of flexibility in how they meet the standards for existing plants, including investing in energy efficiency, renewable power and carbon capture technology. Natural Resources Defense Council’s analysis shows that this approach can cut fleet-wide carbon pollution 26 percent by 2020 and save people money on their monthly electricity bills. It could also create a net increase of 210,000 jobs in 2020. That’s a great investment for today and tomorrow.

As we chart our path forward, we must always use science as our guide. Right now the evidence is sending a clear and resounding signal: act now to reduce carbon pollution and ensure our children inherit a more stable climate.

Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.

———

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Popular
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, seen here speaking to the press about the Flint water crisis in 2016, will be the highest ranking official to stand trial over the public health disaster. Brett Carlsen / Getty Images

Judge Orders Michigan Health Director to Face Trial Over Flint Water Crisis Deaths

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon will be the highest ranking official to go to trial so far as a result of an investigation into the Flint water crisis, The Associated Press reported Monday.

Judge David Goggins ruled Monday there was probable cause for Lyon to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Robert Skidmore and John Snyder that prosecutors say were due to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak that Lyon was aware of a year before he alerted Michigan's governor, Michigan Live reported. Lyons is also charged with misconduct in office.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Coal-fired power plant near Becker, Minnesota. Tony Webster / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Trump's 'Dirty Power Plan' Could Cost More Than 1,000 Lives a Year

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled on Tuesday its long-anticipated replacement of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. The new coal pollution rules will increase planet-warming carbon pollution and could cost more than a thousand American lives each year, according to the EPA's own estimates.

EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler released the "Affordable Clean Energy Rule" today under President Trump's directive. The new plan encourages efficiency improvements at existing coal plants to ensure they operate longer and allows states to weaken, or even eliminate, coal emissions standards. That's a clear difference from former President Obama's plan, which was aimed at phasing out coal and transitioning to cleaner power sources to avoid dangerous climate change.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Two workers in protective gear scrape asbestos tile and mastic from a facility at Naval Base Point Loma in California. NAVFAC / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Why Asbestos Is Still a Major Public Health Threat in the U.S.

Reports surfaced this month that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had proposed a significant new use rule (SNUR) for asbestos in June, requiring anyone who wanted to start or resume importing or manufacturing the carcinogenic mineral to first receive EPA approval.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Rklfoto / Getty Images

Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Wants to End EPA’s Cruel Animal Testing

By Justin Goodman and Nathan Herschler

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress recently pressed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its "questionable" and "dubious" animal tests. The lawmakers' demand for information on "horrific and inhumane" animal testing at the EPA comes on the heels of a recent Johns Hopkins University study that found that high-tech computer models are more effective than animal tests.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
Wikimedia Commons

Strongest, Oldest Arctic Sea Ice Breaks Up for First Time on Record

The Arctic is warming at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the globe, and now the region's thickest and oldest sea ice—also known as "the last ice area"—is breaking up for the first time on record, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

The breakage has opened up waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen-solid even in the peak of summer.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Climate Justice Edmonton

These Giant Portraits Will Stand in the Path of Trans Mountain Pipeline

By Andrea Germanos

To put forth a "hopeful vision for the future" that includes bold climate action, a new installation project is to be erected along the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion route to harnesses art's ability to be a force for social change and highlight the fossil fuel project's increased threats to indigenous rights and a safe climate.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
A worker inspects recycled plastic in a plastics factory. Getty Images

The Plastic Waste Crisis Is an Opportunity to Get Serious About Recycling

By Kate O'Neill

A global plastic waste crisis is building, with major implications for health and the environment. Under its so-called "National Sword" policy, China has sharply reduced imports of foreign scrap materials. As a result, piles of plastic waste are building up in ports and recycling facilities across the U.S.

Keep reading... Show less
Adventure
Aaron Teasdale

The One Thing Better Than Summer Skiing

By Aaron Teasdale

"There's snow up here, I promise," I assure my son Jonah, as we grunt up a south-facing mountainside in Glacier National Park in July. A mountain goat cocks its head as if to say, "What kind of crazy people hike up bare mountains in ski boots?" He's not the only one to wonder what in the name of Bode Miller we're doing up here with ski gear.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!