The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has raised anew the question: how long will Earth remain before we ruin it completely?
According to Thomas Stocker, a co-chair of the IPCC assessment and climate scientist at the University of Bern, Switzerland, climatic change “challenges the two primary resources of humans and ecosystems, land and water.” He warned that, “In short, it threatens our planet, our only home.”
Qin Dahe, co-chair of those who produced the report from IPCC, said:
“Our assessment of the science finds that the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, the global mean sea level has risen and that concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.”
In their report, the group made it clear that the urgency of tackling the issue of climatic change is still present, more than ever. Without concrete and urgent drastic plans on emission reductions or controversial technical climate fixes, global warming will most likely continue to increase and this will affect the lives of billions of people inhabiting this earth, and our planet too, they warned.
They further added that should we even cease our emission of carbon-dioxide overnight, the half a trillion tonnes of carbon that has been emitted into the atmosphere since around 1850, when major industrialization began, will still be haunting Earth’s biosphere, glaciers and oceans for centuries to come.
Moreover, they gave clear warning that concentrations of greenhouse gases are greater now, more than it has ever been since the last 800,000 years. They went on to predict that as a consequence, there would be more extreme rain in the northern hemisphere and also more droughts in the tropics.
The IPCC brief, whose work was to update current knowledge on the state of climatic change, its environmental and socio-economic impacts, has been doing so since around 1998. The group, which is made up of voluntary scientists from all over the world, would come together as a panel to prepare a report on climatic change. They would do this by reviewing the available range of scientific, technical and socio-economic information on climate change. About 195 countries are members of the organization. The direct implication of this is that whatever decision they make, nearly all the countries in the world are affected. Knowing the credibility of the organization and its influence, Stocker, said:
“I am proud that we have been able to convince politicians that what we have come up with is a robust assessment of climate change. The scientific essence of previous drafts has not changed and the main messages have all been kept.”
This year’s latest report on the physical basis of climate change was released in Stockholm. It took the team four days of tedious work and negotiations between leading authors and government representatives from 195 countries. In the end, every one of them concurred to every line and the figure represented in the final 36-page report.
But the big question is: would the governments of each country in the world adhere to the report? If not, what would be the fate of our planet Earth? And are we heading for peril? The length of time that Earth remains depends heavily upon the co-operation of each country’s government. But would they co-operate?
By Ezeiyoke Chukwunonso