"Humanity sits on a thin layer of ice, and that ice is melting rapidly... The goal of limiting the temperature to 1.5ºC is achievable but will require a huge leap in climate action... There is no time to lose." These are words pronounced on Monday by the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, during the presentation of the Synthesis Report of the IPCC, the group of climate change experts linked to the UN.

A work that has been agreed after a long week of meetings in the Swiss town of Interlaken and in which they have summarized all the accumulated knowledge on global warming with a firm, urgent, but above all hopeful appeal: "There are multiple feasible and effective options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change, and are available now," the authors write.

The situation is not made up as bad – "the climate time bomb is running," says Guterres – because as the report shows, the effects of climate change have accelerated and are already being felt around the world. But the good news is that there are many things we can still do to deal with the worst consequences. "Today's IPCC report is a practical guide to defusing that climate time bomb," he said.

"Specifically, leaders of developed countries must commit to reaching net zero [of greenhouse gas emissions] as close as possible to 2040, which is the limit that everyone should try to respect. It's something that can be done. Some countries have already set that target for 2035. And the leaders of emerging economies must commit to reaching net zero as close as possible to 2050, "said once again the head of the United Nations, who has called on OECD countries to gradually abandon the use of coal by 2030, and the rest of the countries by 2040 ", and that new licenses are not authorized to finance oil and gas exploitation projects. "I am also calling on the CEOs of all oil and gas companies to be part of the solution," he said.

This document encompasses both the scientific part and that of the impacts and actions of mitigation and adaptation, since it closes a cycle of work that began in 2015 and summarizes the six large and detailed reports published since 2018, when IPCC scientists already showed how complex it would be to limit the increase in the Earth's global temperature at the end of the century to 1.5 ºC compared to what it had at the beginning of the industrial age. We are in 2023 and we are already at least 1.1 ºC of global increase worldwide (that figure was given for 2020). And we must not forget that this increase in temperature is significantly higher in some regions. At the head are the Arctic and the Mediterranean basin where Spain is, where the increase has been between 1.5 and 1.6 ºC.

In addition to the 1.5 ºC report, this synthesis work includes the report on Earth, the oceans and cryosphere, and the three deliveries that constituted the Sixth Assessment Report.

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Spain, climate change hotspot: 3.5 degrees more, fires and droughts

  • Writing: TERESA GUERRERO Madrid

Spain, climate change hotspot: 3.5 degrees more, fires and droughts


More pollution, worse mental health and new infectious diseases: this is how extreme weather harms our health


More pollution, worse mental health and new infectious diseases: this is how extreme weather harms our health

That increase in temperature, the report's authors write, has resulted "in more frequent and more intense extreme weather events that have caused impacts on nature and people in all regions of the world." Because the report recognises the interdependence between climate, ecosystems, biodiversity and human societies, and the close link between climate change adaptation and mitigation, ecosystem health and human well-being.

Adaptation measures

We will therefore undoubtedly have a warmer and different world in the coming decades, but how much it will be by the end of the century will depend on the adaptation measures taken now and in the short term.

As warming increases, so do the associated dangers to human health and ecosystems, including more intense heat waves, torrential rains and other extreme weather events. The authors stress that "people are dying from extreme heat in all regions. Food insecurity and climate-induced water scarcity are also expected to increase with warming. "And when those risks are combined with other adverse events, such as pandemics or conflicts, they become even more difficult to manage."

"Taking effective and equitable climate action will not only reduce loss and damage to nature and people, itwill also provide benefits," says IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee, who underlined how "the synthesis report underlines the urgency of more ambitious action and shows that, if we act now, we can still ensure a sustainable and livable future for all."

Human activities, mainly through greenhouse gas emissions, have unequivocally caused global warming, with an increase in global surface temperature recorded in the decade 2011-2020 that is already 1.1 °C above the average in the period 1850-1900. Global land surface temperatures have risen faster since 1970 than in any other 50-year period.

The report warns that global greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise – in 2019 they were higher than at any time in at least the last two million years – with historical and unequal contributions across regions and countries, stemming from unsustainable energy use, land use and land-use change. lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production. "Climate justice is crucial because those who have contributed least to climate change are being disproportionately affected," said Aditi Mukherji, one of the 93 authors of this Synthesis Report.

"Almost half of the world's population lives in regions highly vulnerable to climate change. In the last decade, deaths from floods, droughts and storms were 15 times higher in highly vulnerable areas," Mukherji said.

António Guterres has said he hopes this year will finance the famous climate change loss and damage agreement reached at the last Climate Summit in Egypt, to make it easier for the most vulnerable countries to cope with the worst impacts.

Climate change experts recall that changes will be necessary in food production systems, transport, electricity sector, industrial, building construction to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, since in 2019, around 79% of global emissions came from energy, industry, transport and buildings, while the rest is linked to agriculture, forestry and other land uses.

The key, according to the IPCC, is to carry out "climate-resilient development." What does it mean? "It is about integrating measures to adapt to climate change with actions to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions that provide broader benefits. For example: access to energy and clean technologies improves health, especially for women and children; Low-carbon electrification and walking, biking and public transportation improve air quality, health, employment opportunities and create equity."

Among the positive data, there is the reduction in the costs of solar and wind energy between 2010 and 2019, of 85% and 55% respectively.

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Historic agreement at COP27: A fund of damages and losses due to climate change saves the most chaotic summit

  • Editor: CARLOS FRESNEDA (Special Envoy)Sharm el-Sheikh

Historic agreement at COP27: A fund of damages and losses due to climate change saves the most chaotic summit


Jaime Martínez-Urtaza: "We have to learn to live in a country with summers at 50 degrees"

  • Writing: TERESA GUERRERO Madrid

Jaime Martínez-Urtaza: "We have to learn to live in a country with summers at 50 degrees"

Effectively and equitably conserving 30-50% of the earth's surface, freshwater resources and oceans will help preserve a healthy planet, but according to the IPCC, urban areas also offer an opportunity on a global scale for ambitious climate action that contributes to sustainable development. A few days ago and after two decades of work, the UN managed to approve the so-called Global Ocean Treaty, a historic agreement that aims to declare 30% of the world's oceans as protected areas, compared to 1% protected today.

"Transformational changes are more likely to succeed if there is trust, if everyone works together to prioritize risk reduction, and if benefits and burdens are shared equitably," says Hoesung Lee. Because as they state in the report, "climate change has to be a shared problem if we are to address it successfully."

According to The Trust Project criteria

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