IPCC warns of ‘irreversible’ impact of global warming

By Marta Montojo

Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, Nov 13 (EFE).- Exceeding the threshold of 1.5 degrees could bring about irreversible damage even if temperatures returned to normal, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chief Hoesung Lee, warned Sunday in an interview with EFE.

“The system has a threshold and once our emissions, our activities, pass that threshold, then the system will turn into something very very different to the system that we know, that’s the meaning of the tipping point,”

Lee warned on the closing day of the United Nations Cop27 climate summit in the Egyptian city of Sharm el Sheikh.

“1.5 degrees, that’s the level that we want to achieve by limiting global warming and it is very possible that without rapid emission reductions the global temperature may rise above that level of 1.5 degrees celsius,” the economist added.

The Korean expert said that the impact of global warming was spreading rapidly across all regions and economic sectors and he urged the international community to start reducing emissions as soon as possible so as to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

A recent IPCC report shows that emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1°C of warming since 1850-1900, and finds that averaged over the next 20 years, global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming.

“The worrisome point is this, the impact of exceeding that temperature of 1.5 degrees may create an impact that could be irreversible even if the temperature returns back to 1.5 degrees, so that’s the situation we all wish to avoid,” Lee added.

Well-known climate scientists are publicly expressing their frustration regarding the political inaction to contain global warming — something that was voiced by several members of the scientific community at COP27.

The IPCC head told Efe he was satisfied with the way his reports have influenced international climate cooperation.

“Policymakers realize that we don’t have much time to act. So there is a consensus to take immediate action. The question is whether we can turn it into a workable implementation,” he said.

The economist is a proponent of setting a price for carbon emissions, which only cover “25% of global emissions.”

“Financing is the key and, as our report indicated, there is a clear gap between what is needed and what is available,” Lee added.

The issue is not a lack of capital, because there is “enough liquidity and capital available” but rather “a matter of priorities,” he concluded. EFE


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