IPCC: Impacts of global warming are irreversible

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“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything” – Albert Einstein

Today the world and its environment is slowly getting destroyed by the impacts of climate change. Climate change is caused not by animals but by humans who are only interested in getting their work done while ignoring the harm caused to the environment.

Climate change is in discussion even today. But even as we speak, animals, plants and humans are dying due to the serious effects of climate change.  

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released the third part of the IPCC sixth assessment report recently. This report provides more than enough evidence of how climate change affects all living beings on the planet Earth.

“The IPCC is the world’s foremost body of climate researchers. Its three reviews came under the sixth assessment report of the IPCC. The first report was published last August, highlighting the scale of the effect that humans were having on the climate system. The second report entitled Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability published on 28 February looks at the causes, impacts and solutions to climate change. It gives the clearest indication to date of how a warmer world is affecting all the living things on Earth,” Convener – Biodiversity Conservation and Research Circle of Sri Lanka Supun Lahiru Prakash said.

Prakash is also an environmental activist and one of 10, 2020 – United Nations Climate Change Learn Champions.

“The report emphasises that there is no fundamental challenge other than climate change which creates a lot of problems in all the aspects of human wellbeing such as food, water, health, shelters, education, employment, and so on. Not only humans but also other living beings are under threat due to climate change. Hundreds of species of flora and fauna have got extinct due to the issues accelerated by climate change and thousands of others are on the edge of extinction,” Prakash explained.

As a tropical island nation in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is highly vulnerable to climate change he says and we are experiencing a lot of adverse impacts of climate change. “Between 2010 and 2020, 15 times more people died from floods, droughts and storms in very vulnerable regions, including parts of Africa, South Asia and Central and South America, than in other parts of the world. Over 40 per cent of the world’s population are ‘highly vulnerable’ to climate catastrophes. Many of the impacts of global warming are now simply ‘irreversible’ according to the assessment,” Prakash said.

He says we are acting at the last minute against climate change by cutting down greenhouse gas emissions significantly while investing more on adaptations, as we humans and nature are being pushed beyond their abilities to adapt.

“However, this report did not get enough attention internationally or nationally. The Russian invasion of Ukraine hid the report from the international media up to some extent. Furthermore, in Sri Lanka people are suffering from lack of basic needs and they do not have any idea about climate change related things. This is not unusual as we are far behind as a country in climate literacy. People don’t have a good knowledge about climate change mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage,” Prakash explained.

If the Sri Lankan people were aware of these things he says they would demand essential policy changes and decisions to tackle the adverse impacts of climate change. “Language is a bottleneck in climate education in most of the countries in the world where English is not the mother tongue. There are very limited opportunities for the local people who communicate in their native languages to be aware of climate change. The climate knowledge is mostly in English and reliable and updated climate information in local language is lacking or has limited access,” Prakash said.

He added that those who are communicating in Sinhalese or Tamil are experiencing this problem. “In almost all the areas, people are experiencing certain changes in their environment probably due to climate change. However, they don’t know these changes are due to climate change. Therefore, we need to improve climate literacy in the country and actions should be done today, not tomorrow,” Prakash said.

By Risidra Mendis