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IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report

Context:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the second part of its sixth assessment report. The first part was released in 2021.


Relevance:

GS III- Environment (Climate change)

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. About the IPCC
  2. IPCC Assessment Reports
  3. Highlights of the recent report

About the IPCC

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988.
  • IPCC was created to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.
  • IPCC assessments provide a scientific basis for governments at all levels to develop climate related policies, and they underlie negotiations at the UN Climate Conference – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • IPCC does not carry out original research. It does not monitor climate or related phenomena itself. However, it conducts a systematic review of published literature and then produces a comprehensive assessment report.

IPCC Assessment Reports

  • The IPCC Assessment Reports are published once in about 7 years – and they are the most comprehensive scientific evaluations of the state of Earth’s climate. The 6th such assessment report was published in 2021.
  • Prior to the AR6 in 2021, five assessment reports have been produced with the first one being released in 1990. The fifth assessment report had come out in 2014 in the run up to the climate change conference in Paris.
  • The Assessment Reports are prepared by three working groups of scientists:
    • Working Group-I – Deals with the scientific basis for climate change.
    • Working Group-II – Looks at the likely impacts, vulnerabilities and adaptation issues.
    • Working Group-III – Deals with actions that can be taken to combat climate change.

Highlights of the recent report

  • According to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ,The world faces unavoidable multiple climate hazards over the next two decades with global warming of 1.5°C and even temporarily exceeding this warming level would mean additional, severe impacts, some of which will be irreversible,
  • The latest report has, for the first time, made an assessment of regional and sectoral impacts of climate change. It has included risks to, and vulnerabilities of, mega-cities around the world.
    • For example, it has said Mumbai is at high risk of sea-level rise and flooding, while Ahmedabad faces serious danger of heat-waves. Such granular information was not available in previous assessment reports. Flooding in Mumbai and heat-waves in Ahmedabad are common occurrences.
  • Also for the first time, the IPCC report has looked at the health impacts of climate change. It has found that climate change is increasing vector-borne and water-borne diseases such as malaria or dengue, particularly in sub-tropical regions of Asia.
  • It has also said deaths related to circulatory, respiratory, diabetic and infectious diseases, as well as infant mortality, are likely to increase with a rise in temperature.
  • Increasing frequency of extreme weather events like heatwaves, flooding and drought, and even air pollution was contributing to under-nutrition, allergic diseases and even mental disorders.
  • The report has said that while strong actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the near term, in the next 20 years, would substantially reduce the threats, and the projected damages, they would not eliminate them all.
    •  If the temperature rise crossed the threshold of 1.5°C from pre-industrial times, then many changes could be irreversible.
  • The report has stressed the need to take adaptation measures.

-Source: The Hindu

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October 2022
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