Failure to act on climate change will result in catastrophic consequences for the world, warns Alok Sharma, the British Minister in charge of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). He said this is going to be the starkest warning yet that human behavior is alarmingly accelerating global warming.
In a landmark 2018 special report, the global scientific authority on climate change warned that the world only has until 2030 to drastically reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and prevent the planet from reaching the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The 1.5 degree marker has been identified as a key tipping point beyond which the risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages will increase dramatically.
Sharma pointed out that the consequences of global warming was already clear. “You are seeing on a daily basis what is happening across the world. Last year was the hottest on record, the last decade the hottest decade on record.” Experts highlight that a summer of record-setting heat in southern Europe has set off devastating wildfires that have torn through forests, homes and destroyed vital infrastructure from Turkey to Spain. And this summer, devastating floods in Western Europe engulfed houses and streets, and claimed dozens of lives.
“I don’t think we are out of time but I think we are getting dangerously close to when we might be out of time. We will see from the IPCC a very, very clear warning that unless we act now, we will unfortunately be out of time,” Sharma sounded the alarm.
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in February 2021, had told the Security Council that climate change is a crisis multiplier that has profound implications for international peace and stability. “If we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security – food production, access to fresh water, habitable ambient temperature and ocean food chains. The poorest, those with the least security, are certain to suffer. Our duty right now is surely to do all we can to help those in the most immediate danger.”
Guterres pointed out that climate change can only be dealt with an unparalleled levels of global cooperation. “It will compel countries to question economic models, invent new industries and recognize the moral responsibility that wealthy nations have to the rest of the world, placing a value on nature that goes far beyond money.”
The world body chief challenged the international community to create a stable, healthy world where resources are equally shared and where, for the first time in history, people come to know what it feels like to be secure.