Grim UN Climate Report: World Leaders Call for End of Fossil Fuels and Coal

Adobe Stock

The UN IPCC released its first comprehensive climate assessment in 8 years, warning that the 1.5°C threshold will be exceeded by 2030. World leaders call for the end of coal and fossil fuels, as the UN chief says: “a code red for humanity.”

Planet in peril: Sobering UN climate report has world leaders calling for end of coal and fossil fuels

World leaders are reacting strongly to the latest report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on Monday. It’s the most comprehensive review of the science of climate change since 2013, the BBC reported.

The assessment shows the planet has warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than preindustrial levels.

Johnson: “Consign coal to history”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the UN climate report as “sobering,” the BBC reported.

“Today’s report makes for sobering reading,” Mr. Johnson said. “and it is clear that the next decade is going to be pivotal to securing the future of our planet.”

“We know what must be done to limit global warming,” Johnson continued, ” consign coal to history and shift to clean energy sources, protect nature and provide climate finance for countries on the frontline.”

“The UK is leading the way, decarbonizing our economy faster than any country in the G20 over the last two decades,” Johnson added. “I hope today’s IPCC report will be a wake-up call for the world to take action now, before we meet in Glasgow in November for the critical COP26 summit.”

“Death knell for coal and fossil fuels”

“This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement.

‘Code red for humanity’: 1.5° Celsius threshold to be exceeded by 2030

According to the report, the planet is on track to exceed 1.5°C by 2030 and reach +2° C warming between 2050-2060.

UN Secretary-General Guterres warned that the 1.5-degree threshold is “perilously close.” He called the findings “a code red for humanity.”

“The only way to prevent exceeding this threshold is by urgently stepping up our efforts, and pursuing the most ambitious path,” Guterres said.

“If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe,” Guterres continued. “But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses.”

Michael E. Mann, a lead author of the IPCC’s 2001 report, told CNN: “Bottom line is that we have zero years left to avoid dangerous climate change, because it’s here.”

Major findings of the study

  • The past five years have been the warmest on record since 1850.
  • The global surface temperature was 1.09C higher in the 10-year period between 2011-2020 than between the 50-year period of 1850-1900.
  • The rate of sea level rise in recent years has nearly tripled compared with 1901-1971.
  • 90% “very likely” human influence behind global retreat of glaciers since the 1990s and decrease of Arctic sea-ice.
  • Researchers are “virtually certain” heat waves have been more frequent and intense since the 1950s, while extreme cold events less intense and less frequent.