Even if humanity can reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, a leaked draught UN report paints a bleak picture of how climate change would profoundly disrupt life on Earth in the next decades.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) prepared a 4,000-page paper which is widely regarded as the most thorough catalog yet gathered of how climate change is upending the planet.
Species extinction, more widespread disease, unbearable heat, ecosystem collapse, cities threatened by rising waters – according to the draught report, these and other severe climatic effects are escalating and will become painfully visible before a child born today turns 30.
“The worst is yet to come,” the draught report warns, “affecting our children and grandchildren’s lives far more than our own.”
However, the document, which is intended to influence crucial policy decisions, will not be released until February 2022, which some experts believe will be too late for this year’s UN conferences on climate, biodiversity, and food systems.
Previous significant climatic shocks, according to the paper, drastically altered the environment and wiped out most species, raising the question of whether civilization is sowing the seeds of its own extinction. It claims that life on Earth can adapt to a dramatic climatic change by evolving into new species and generating new ecosystems. “Humans are incapable.
On Wednesday, the IPCC issued a statement saying it “does not comment on the substance of draught reports while work is still underway.”
Francois Gemenne, the director of the Hugo Observatory and an author on the IPPC study, cautioned that the draught seen by AFP will be revised before it is finalized and that it may even include more sections. He went on to say that focusing solely on the “essential messages” would be a “major mistake.”