The issue of climate change on our Planet is so pressing that no one can be surprised by a capricious and unpredictable weather. However, climate change does not only impact the weather, but also poses serious threat to food production, influences the pace of rising sea level in the world, which, in turn, increases the risks of natural disasters and adversely affects the lives of humanity.
Greenhouse gases are produced naturally and play an important role in survival of people and other living beings, capturing part of the solar heat and making our planet suitable for life. Unfortunately, one and a half centuries of industrialization, as well as intensive logging and using specific methods of agriculture led to the increase of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. With the growth of the population and development of economies of countries the volumes of emissions of GHG are increasing exponentially as well. Moreover, scientists have established a number of patterns:
The average global temperature directly depends on the concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere;
Since the beginning of the industrial epoch, the concentration of greenhouse gases has been steadily increasing, impacting the rise of the average global temperature;
One of the main greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere is carbon dioxide, a product of burning fossil fuels.
If no radical action is taken today, subsequent adaptation to climate change will require greater efforts and costs.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UN-Environment) to assess the risk of global climate change caused by human activities, and supply of objective scientific data. The Panel’s first chairman was Swedish meteorologist Bert Rickard Johannes Bolin, serving in this post until 1997. From 2002 to 2015, the Chairman of the IPCC was a native of India, Professor Rajendra Kumar Pachauri. In October 2015, Hyon Lee was elected as the Chairman.
On 12 October 2007, the IPCC together with Al Gore, received the Nobel Peace Prize.
The IPCC group of experts published five reports assessing the latest results of global climate change, as well as multiple thematic reports compiled by a group of researchers selected by the Panel from a list provided by the state parties. Meanwhile, the IPCC does not conduct its own research. Leading experts evaluate the information on the basis of published research, and priority is given to publications that have been reviewed. Authors can also consider unreviewed, high-quality materials, such as research results and reports from government and non-government organizations. Each report is published in three volumes, corresponding to the three working groups. As of today, five reports have been published - in 1990, 1995, 2001, 2007, and 2014.
In 2013, the Panel presented the most comprehensive data on the anthropogenic impact on climate change. The IPCC released the “Assessment Report 5”, the conclusions of which are unambiguous: climate change is real and human activity is its main cause.
The report (Assessment Report 5 or AR5) was completed in 2014. The report provides a comprehensive assessment of sea level rise and the reasons for its increase over the past few decades, along with an estimate of total CO2 emissions since the pre-industrial period, and determines the level of future emissions cap to keep the warming process below 2°C. About half of this maximum allowable emissions was already emitted into the atmosphere by 2011. Thanks to the IPCC report, we have the following information:
During the period 1880 to 2012 the global average temperature increased by 0.85°C;
The waters of the world's oceans became warmer, the ice cover decreased resulting in the sea level rise;
From 1901 through 2010 the global average sea level rose by 19 cm as a result of warming, which led to the melting of ice covers;
Since 1979 the volume of ice sheets in the Arctic Ocean has declined by 0.45–0.51 million square meters in each decade;
Given the current concentration of greenhouse gases and continuing emissions, it is highly probable that by the end of this century, the average global temperature will rise by 1-2°C compared to 1990 level, and by 1.5-2.5°C compared to pre-industrial era;
According to estimates, by 2065 the average sea level will rise by up to 24-30 cm, and by 2100 – by 40-63 cm compared to the levels of the period 1986-2005;
The majority of climate change consequences will remain during several centuries, even if emissions stop altogether;
There is existing evidence that increase of threshold indicators leading to irreversible changes to ecosystems and climate system of our planet have already happened;
As a result of warming and droughts, the ecosystems similar to the tropical forests of the Amazon, the arctic tundra reaches its critical point;
The area of mountain glaciers is decreasing at an alarming rate; therefore, future generations will experience shortage of drinking water during the dry months.
In October 2018 the IPCC published its “Special report on 1.5°C global warming”. The report highlights a number of climate change consequences, which would be avoidable by limiting the global warming to the level 1.5°C degrees compared to a previous scenario of below 2°C degrees or more.
The UN agencies are leading an active effort to save our planet. In 1992 at the high-level meeting “Planet Earth” the UN Framework Convention on climate change was adopted, having become the first step towards resolving the problem.
In 1995 the states started negotiations with the goal of strengthening global actions on climate change. Two years later the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, which was binding to the parties to the Protocol in relation to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
At the 21st Conference of parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change the Paris Agreement was concluded to combat climate change and activate efforts necessary for sustainable low-carbon development. Its main goal is to keep the increase in global temperature in this century within 2°C and try to reduce this figure to 1.5°C. The Paris Agreement was signed by the heads of 175 states at the UN headquarters in New York on April 22, 2016. This set a record in a number of countries that signed an international agreement in one day.
In September 2019 the UN Secretary General will conduct the Climate Summit. The world’s leaders are expected to make reports on measures taken and planned events before the UN climate talks, which will take place in 2020.
At the Second Central Asian Climate Change Conference (3-4 April 2019, Tashkent, Uzbekistan) an IPCC representative noted that the next Assessment Report 6 (AR6) will include a section with information on Central Asia. This report planned to be published in April 2022, will include assessment of scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, as well as adaptation and mitigation solutions.
Presentation of scientific evidence about the region is expected to improve understanding of specific needs of Central Asian countries, in the first place, from the adaptation and mitigation point of view, and will kick start determining and strengthening regional measures, which will supplement and reinforce efforts by the countries themselves.
In August 2019, during an official visit of IPCC representatives to Almaty, CAREC will organize a number of meetings: meeting with the MFA and the Parliamentarians of the Central Asian countries, training for media representatives and universities, a press conference with a report by Dr. Youba Sokona, Vice Chairman of IPCC on the “Impacts of climate change in a global and regional context”.
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