Many climate change impacts now ‘irreversible’, says IPCC

The latest report by the body lays out the effects of the climate crisis, which MP Caroline Lucas notes are ‘greater than many feared’.

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Green World

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has today released a new report, warning that many of the impacts of climate change are now ‘irreversible’.

The study reveals that 40 per cent of the world’s population is now ‘highly vulnerable’ to the effects of climate change, as well as noting that we are already living within the climate emergency, pointing to heat-related human mortality, extreme weather and temperatures, and climate-sensitive sector losses as evidence of this.

Responding to the report in a statement, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said: “This report sounds what should be a deafening alarm bell about the urgency of tackling the climate emergency and, in stark terms, makes clear that the impacts of the climate crisis are greater than many feared. 

“With the Red Cross already warning that around two million people a week need humanitarian assistance because of the impacts of climate breakdown, it’s clear that we’re facing not just an environmental crisis, but a humanitarian emergency of monumental proportions. 

“One of the most terrifying parts of the report are the impacts of extreme weather which it predicts are already baked in, even if the world succeeds in limiting global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.  

“That means there must be a ramping up of investment in adaptation, including in the UK where the Government’s own independent advisors say it has long been ‘underfunded and ignored’. When the impacts of the climate emergency are already upon us, adaptation can no longer be left to the sidelines. 

“The COP26 Presidency must also ensure that rich countries finally come good on their existing finance commitments and that new and additional adaptation finance is prioritised for the post-2025 goal.

“Just over 100 days have now passed since the Glasgow Climate Pact was agreed, with its renewed commitment to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees – but we have seen little action. And in the UK, Ministers perversely plan for more domestic oil and gas in response to the global gas crisis. 

“The dangers of our addiction to fossil fuels are clear and the Government must stop pouring fuel on the fire to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. This means urgently ruling out future oil and gas licences, delivering a just transition for workers and investing in clean and bountiful renewable energy.

“Crucially this report shows that there is a deep injustice at the heart of the climate emergency. Whilst nowhere is safe from the impacts of the climate crisis, those in the poorest countries will be hardest hit.  

“We cannot leave those on the front lines of this crisis to bear its costs alone, and as COP26 President, the UK must heed the call for new finance for loss and damage and do much more to build consensus ahead of COP27. Rich Governments cannot continue to turn a blind eye to this moral issue.”

Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay is also calling for urgent climate action from the Government, highlighting the need to eliminate our reliance on Russian gas in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.

He said: “The latest IPCC report makes clear how humanity’s use of fossil fuels has had a devastating impact on our climate and environment. Security experts have long warned that the climate crisis is a major national security risk but Putin’s use of energy aggression in Ukraine strongly underlines this. However, our reliance on oil and gas also leaves us susceptible to major national security concerns, such as those we are currently witnessing with Russia.

“It is imperative that the government starts taking the necessary steps to wean us off this addiction to fossil fuels and develop the renewables and efficiency measures required to ensure we are not beholden to despots such as Putin.

“Our addiction to fossil fuels has encouraged us to turn a blind eye to Putin’s decades of outrages. We have encouraged Russian energy companies and Russian oligarchs and Russian energy companies into the heart of our economy and society. 

“To strengthen European defences against Russian aggression we must install thousands of wind turbines, millions of new solar panels and millions of well-insulated homes. The government needs to treat this with the seriousness it deserves as a potential cause of conflict in the near future."