The report is terrifying, TBH.
For decades, scientist have been urging U.S. lawmakers to pass legislation to help halt and reduce the mounting effects of climate change. However, scientific advice has often fallen on deaf ears in Washington — and now, in 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a report detailing the consequences of collective global inaction. Politicians around the world are calling for action, including President Joe Biden. Biden’s response to the IPCC climate change report is serious, and shows how taking steps to address the crisis head-on is more critical now than ever.
The report, released Aug. 9, is a “code red for humanity,” according to UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “The evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions are choking our planet and placing billions of people in danger,” he wrote in an Aug. 9 post via Twitter. “Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible. We must act decisively now to avert a climate catastrophe,” Guterres added. In his own Aug. 9 Twitter post, Biden addressed the need for immediate action to mitigate the effects of climate change — some of which are essentially permanent, according to the IPCC report. “We can’t wait to tackle the climate crisis,” Biden wrote. “The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. And the cost of inaction keeps mounting,” he added.
The IPCC report confirms that human influence (namely, the excessive emission of greenhouse gases and pollutants) is one of the primary causes of the climate crisis. Some changes are already irreversible, such as sea level rise, global temperature increases, heightened extreme weather events, ice loss in the Arctic, and more frequent floods and wildfires. While these effects are unavoidable, experts say humanity isn’t doomed (yet). According to experts during an Aug. 9 IPCC news conference, the world must work together to ambitiously combat climate change and aim for a best case scenario — which means limiting the global temperature increase to only 1.5 degrees Celsius. “If emissions are reduced rapidly, and if, at a global scale, they reach net zero by around 2050, then [the temperature] would be very close to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” Valerie Masson-Delmotte, the co-chair of the IPCC’s working group I, stated in an Aug. 9 press conference. However, she pointed out that action must be taken as soon as possible: “Unless there are immediate, rapid, large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” she stated, “limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will be beyond reach.”
However, measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States could be difficult to pass in Washington, D.C. The congressional stance on a Green New Deal is split directly down party lines, with Republicans — who have long opposed policies that would reduce the use of greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels — starkly opposed to legislation on climate change. This means every Democratic senator will need to fully support climate change legislation moving forward for it to pass.
Ed Markey, a Democratic senator who co-authored the Green New Deal proposal alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, stated that the IPCC report “must be the final warning to the world that time has run out to save the planet from dangerous and irreversible climate change,” per The Guardian. He added that, “if senators truly followed the science in this report, we’d have 100 votes for climate action.” While it’s unclear how many senators will vote in favor of measures to mitigate climate change, one thing is abundantly clear: The earth won’t wait for politicians to make a decision.