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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Mar 07, 2022

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. This is an essential topic of UPSC exam preparation and we will be talking about it in today's edition of Current Affairs Dialog Box. Its relevance from the CSE syllabus is mentioned below:

Prelims: IPCC, Sixth Assessment Report.

Mains:  Findings of IPCC Report and its significance.

Click here to read yesterday's edition of Current Affairs Dialog Box.

Why in the News?

The IPCC, a global body of scientists that makes periodic reviews of climate science, released the second part of its sixth assessment report titled “Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability”.

  • The first part of this report, on the physical science of climate change, was released in August 2021.

Probable Question

The Concept of ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibilities' has not yielded desired results to tackle climate change. Critically Analyze

Key Points

Findings of IPCC Report

  • Focus Areas:  It measures the climate change impacts, risks and vulnerabilities, and adaptation options.
  • Keeping Global rise of temperature in 1.5 Degree Target: Multiple disasters induced by climate change are likely to emerge in different parts of the world in the next two decades, even if adequate efforts are made to keep the global rise in temperatures within 1.5 degree Celsius from pre-industrial times.
  • Adapting Capacity: The capacity to adapt to the rising temperatures was already getting weaker, for living beings as well as natural systems, and it would reduce further with rising temperatures.
  • Gaps in Adaptation Actions: The report also highlights large gaps in the adaptation actions due to lack of funding, political commitment, reliable information, and a sense of urgency.
  • Regional and Sectoral impacts of Climate Change: The latest report has, for the first time, made an assessment of regional and sectoral impacts of climate change. It has included risks to, and vulnerabilities of, mega-cities around the world.
    • For example, it has been said that Mumbai is at high risk of sea-level rise and flooding, while Ahmedabad faces serious danger of heat waves. Such granular information was not available in previous assessment reports.
  • Health impacts of Climate Change: Climate change is increasing vector-borne and water-borne diseases such as malaria or dengue, particularly in sub-tropical regions of Asia. 
  • Insufficient Efforts to tackle Climate Change: Alluding to the Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, the report notes that most of the targets that countries have set for themselves are too far in the future to have an impact in the short term at meaningfully reducing the climate impact.
  • Phenomenon of Wet-Bulb Temperature: A major point of emphasis of the report, particularly for South Asia, is the trend in the ‘wet bulb’ temperature — an index of the impact of heat and humidity combined — and its effect on health. The Phenomenon of Wet-Bulb Temperature will have consequences such as a rise in heat-wave linked deaths or reduced productivity. 
    •  Lucknow and Patna, according to one of several studies cited in the report, were among the cities predicted to reach wet-bulb temperatures of 35°C if emissions continued to rise.
  • Himalayan Ecology: Even the slightest change in climate will have a long-lasting impact on the Himalayan region due to its fragile ecology and would cause increase in incidents like the Chamoli disaster etc.
  • Flooding Rise in Indian Coastal Cities: India is one of the most vulnerable countries in terms of the population that will be affected by sea-level rise. 
    • By the middle of the century, around 35 million of its people could face annual coastal flooding, with 45 million-50 million at risk by the end of the century if emissions are high. 

Also read: New IPCC Climate Report: What is in it for India?

Significance of IPCC Reports

  • IPCC reports form the scientific basis on which countries across the world build their policy responses to climate change.
  • These reports, on their own, are not policy prescriptive as such they do not tell countries or governments what to do. They are only meant to present factual situations with as much scientific evidence as is possible.
  • And yet, these can be of immense help in formulating the action plans to deal with climate change. 

Also, watch a detailed Revision Strategy for Prelims 2022 by Vivek Singh Sir, our DREAM TEAM faculty for Economics:

Way Forward

  • It is clear now that minor, marginal, reactive, or incremental changes won’t be sufficient to tackle climate change.
  • Remedial measures are Heat Health Action Plans that include early warning and response systems for extreme heat that need to be put in place.
  • Climate Resilient Development needs to be in focus which would align all pathways towards sharp cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, the institution of measures to absorb much of the stock of CO2 in the atmosphere and raise sufficient climate finance for adaptation.

News Source: The Indian Express

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