The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday called for urgent action on climate change in its sixth and final report. File Photo courtesy of NASA/UPI | License Photo
March 20 (UPI) -- There is still a chance to save the planet from the worst effects of global warming but time is rapidly running out, scientists from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said Monday.
The IPPC released its sixth climate assessment report, dubbed the Synthesis Report, after days of meetings in Interlaken, Switzerland.
The panel said multiple "feasible and effective options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change" are available.
"Mainstreaming effective and equitable climate action will not only reduce losses and damages for nature and people, it will also provide wider benefits," IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee said in a statement. "This Synthesis Report underscores the urgency of taking more ambitious action and shows that, if we act now, we can still secure a livable sustainable future for all."
The IPCC said five years after its call to keep the planet from warming no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, the challenge is even greater to curb greenhouse gas emissions, noting what has been done so far has been insufficient.
Immediate action is needed to address the existing impacts of climate change, which are "hitting the most vulnerable people and ecosystems especially hard," the panel said.
"Climate justice is crucial because those who have contributed least to climate change are being disproportionately affected," said Aditi Mukherji, one of the report's authors.
"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."
The panel said the continued burning of fossil fuels, along with the "unequal and unsustainable" use of energy and land has led to global warming of 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
"This has resulted in more frequent and more intense extreme weather events that have caused increasingly dangerous impacts on nature and people in every region of the world," the panel said in a statement.
"Every increment of warming results in rapidly escalating hazards. More intense heatwaves, heavier rainfall and other weather extremes further increase risks for human health and ecosystems."
Guterres said during a press conference that the new report is a "clarion call" to fast-track large-scale climate efforts in every country and in the near future and beyond.
"Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once," said Guterres, quoting the title of the hit Hollywood movie.