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Synthesis Report of IPCC AR6

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment

 

Source: TH

Context: According to an IPCC report, climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health and a window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all is fast closing.

 

Background:

  • Through its multiple assessment cycles beginning in 1990, the IPCC has analysed research by scientists on
    • Global warming,
    • The role humans have had in exacerbating it,
    • The long-term climate impact from current and future emissions and what people can do about it.
  • The IPCC does not itself undertake scientific assessments but only evaluates the state of scientific evidence on various aspects of climate change.
  • The 6th Assessment Report (AR6) assesses scientific, technical, and socio-economic information concerning climate change.

 

About the Synthesis Report: This is the final report of the AR6, which integrates findings from six reports (3 working groups + 3 special reports) released by IPCC during the cycle which began in 2015.

 

Highlights of the Synthesis report of the AR6:

 

6 key messages for policymakers:

  • Excess emissions from human activities have raised global temperature by 1.1°C above 1850-1900.
  • Current policy action will lead to further temperature rise, and the impacts on humans and other forms of life will become more severe.
  • At current emissions levels, we will deplete the remaining carbon budget (of 500 GtCO2).
  • We need to cut GHG emissions across all sectors urgently, within this decade and no later.
  • We have all the solutions we need to shift to low-carbon economic systems. These include –
    • Widespread electrification,
    • Diversifying energy generation to include more wind, solar, and small-scale hydropower,
    • Deploying more battery-powered electric vehicles, and
    • Conserving and restoring forests while also reducing tropical deforestation.
  • Political commitment and equity are key to enabling this shift – there is enough finance, it needs to be directed to climate action

 

Challenges:

  • Overshooting 1.5°C (expected in the early 2030s) will result in irreversible adverse impacts on certain ecosystems with low resilience (polar, mountain, coastal ecosystems, etc).
  • Adaptation gaps exist and will continue to grow if no action is taken and the lower-income group will suffer the most.
    • Though developed countries commit to jointly mobilise $100 billion in climate finance annually, current global financial flows for adaptation are insufficient.
  • Some parts of the world (tropical, coastal, polar and mountain ecosystems) have already reached their adaptation limits.
    • This means adaptive actions cannot avoid negative impacts there.
  • There is increased evidence of maladaptation (changes in natural/human systems that inadvertently increase vulnerability to climate stimuli) in various sectors and regions.
    • For example, mangrove plantation in coastal Odisha has disturbed the local ecosystems, affecting marginalised and vulnerable groups adversely.
  • There are multiple barriers (variable impacts, risks and co-benefits in deploying them) to implementing carbon capture and storage (CCS) – a climate change mitigation tool that removes CO2 from the atmosphere

 

Implications of the report for India: Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events – could have dire consequences for agriculture, the economy and public health.

 

Opportunity: There is a 50-50 chance that by 2030, the global surface temperature in any individual year could exceed 1.5C.

 

Recent efforts: The loss and damage (L&D) finance facility, which came into prominence during the COP27 (Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt) to the UNFCCC, aims to provide financial assistance to nations most vulnerable and impacted by the effects of climate change.

 

Way ahead:

  • Engaging public-private sector to mobilise sufficient finances
  • Citizens must be provided with climate literacy to drive political commitment, research and urgency towards adaptation.
  • Enabling conditions such as policy instruments, greater public support and technological innovation could reduce barriers to CCS.
  • The policymakers must prioritise investments in disaster risk reduction, including early warning systems, evacuation plans, and infrastructure development to protect vulnerable populations.

 

Conclusion:

  • Certain future changes are unavoidable but could be limited by deep, rapid and sustained global GHG emissions reduction based on the principle of climate justice.
  • Therefore, mainstreaming effective and equitable climate action will not only reduce losses and damages, but will also provide wider benefits.

 

Insta Links:

IPCC Report

 

Prelims Links: (UPSC 2015)

Which of the following statements regarding the ‘Green Climate Fund’ is/are correct?

  1. It is intended to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change
  2. It is founded under the aegis of UNEP, OECD, Asian Development Bank and World Bank

 

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

 

Ans: 1