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UN chief says latest climate report is ‘survival guide’ for humanity

The UN chief said on Monday that the rate of temperature rise in the last half century was the highest in 2,000 years and humans were responsible for virtually all global heating over the past 200 years.

“Humanity is on thin ice – and that ice is melting fast,” Antonio Guterres said in response to the findings of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report details how urgent climate action can avert the worst effects of the climate crisis and secure a liveable future for all.

“Today’s IPCC report is a how-to guide to defuse the climate time bomb. It is a survival guide for humanity,” Guterres said.

The 1.5-degree limit is achievable, according to the report.

The Paris Climate Agreement reached in 2015 aims to limit global warming to well below 2C, preferably to 1.5C, by the end of the century to combat climate change and calls on nations to cut their emissions by half by 2030 and down to net zero by 2050.

“Every country must be part of the solution,” Guterres said.

He urged the leaders of developed countries to commit to reaching net zero as close as possible to 2040.

“I am also calling on CEOs of all oil and gas companies to be part of the solution,” he said.

There are multiple, feasible and effective options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change, and they are available now, scientists said in the latest IPCC report released today.

The report also highlights the losses and damages the world is already facing.

“Climate justice is crucial because those who have contributed least to climate change are being disproportionately affected,” said Aditi Mukherji, one of the 93 authors of the report.

“Almost half of the world’s population lives in regions that are highly vulnerable to climate change. In the last decade, deaths from floods, droughts, and storms were 15 times higher in highly vulnerable regions,” she added.

Emissions should be decreasing by now and will need to be cut by almost half by 2030, if warming is to be limited to 1.5°C, according to the report.

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