IEMA's Digital Journalist Tom Pashby discusses the recent United in Science 2022 report and the warnings it presents.

A new multi-agency report has reiterated that “urgent action to address climate change is needed” and that greenhouse gas emissions “continue to rise, despite emissions reductions in 2020 resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns”. The report goes on to state that “without ambitious action, the physical and socioeconomic impacts of climate change will be devastating”.

The report, United in Science 2022, which has been published annually since 2019, draws on data and expertise from organisations including the World Meteorological Organization, the UN Environment Programme, the Global Carbon Project, the UK’s Met Office, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – which is a UN body, and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

One section of the report from the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) – a consortium of over 800 international analysts, highlights the impact of heat on people’s capacity to carry out work, saying “some parts of the world already exceed the international standard for safe work activity during the hottest months of the year as the capacity of the human body to thermoregulate may be exceeded on a regular basis”. UCCRN went on to say that “excessive heat in workplaces represents a serious health hazard, with reductions in cognitive and physical work performance and increases in sick leave leading to lost productivity”.

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said:

“Rapidly accelerating climate disruption means that no one is safe from disasters such as floods, droughts, heatwaves, extreme storms, wildfires or sea level rise. The answer lies in urgent climate action, yet we continue to feed our fossil fuel addiction and to compromise the livelihoods of future generations.

“In the Paris Agreement on climate change, governments pledged to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees and to build climate-resilient communities. This year’s United in Science report shows that we are way off track. It is time to turn pledges into action.”

Professor Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, said:

“The science is unequivocal: we are going in the wrong direction.

“The combined effects of higher temperatures and humidity in some regions could have dangerous consequences for human health in the next few decades. This could lead to physiological tipping points beyond which outdoor human labor is no longer possible without technical assistance.”

You can find the full report here.


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