A UN report of major importance has found that human activity is causing climate change at an unprecedented pace. Its authors described the report as a "code red" for humanity.
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is firm and direct in its conclusions. It states that it is unambiguous that human influence has caused the earth, oceans and atmosphere to heat up.
The IPCC is a group of scientists whose results are supported by world governments. It warns of increasing extreme heatwaves and droughts and of a key temperature limit being breached within the next decade.
The report states that the world could experience one-and-a half degrees of warming sooner than anticipated, possibly in the middle 2034.
According to the IPCC, heat waves that exceed 1.5 C are more intense and frequent.
Professor Ed Hawkins from the University of Reading (U.K.) said that the report is a statement of facts, and we can't be more certain. It is unambiguous and indisputable, therefore, that humans are warming our planet.
Scientists say that a catastrophe can still be avoided if the world takes swift action and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. This could help stabilize the rising temperatures.
Scientists are optimistic that global emissions will be reduced by 2030, and net zero by the middle century.
This report, which is the IPCC's first major review since 2013, comes just three months before the COP26 summit on climate change in Glasgow.
Key points from the IPCC Report
1.5 C will be attained by 2040 under all scenarios, assuming that emissions are not reduced in the coming years.
To keep to 1.5 C, immediate and rapid reductions in emissions are required. Slower actions lead to 2 C and more suffering to all life on Earth.
Global glacier retreat since 1990s is largely due to human influence (90%)
Since the 1950s heat waves have been more common and more intense, while cold events are less frequent and less severe.
Many countries will see an increase in the severity of fire weather.
More than 90% of the regions are experiencing drought.
The global surface temperature was 1.09 C warmer in the decade 2011-2020 than it was between 1850-1900.
These five years were the hottest since 1850.
Recent sea-level rise rates have nearly tripled in comparison to 1901-1971.
It is impossible to rule out a rise of approximately 2m in sea level by 2100, or a 5-meter increase by 2150, which could threaten millions of coastal residents.
Extreme sea-level changes that once occurred every century are expected to happen at least annually.
All the emission scenarios in the report indicate that all targets for reducing carbon emissions will not be met unless there are drastic reductions in carbon emissions.
The scientists propose solutions such as clean technology, carbon storage and planting trees.
Piers Forster, a co-author from the University of Leeds (U.K.), was quoted as saying that: "If we can achieve net zero, we hope not get any more temperature rise; and if net-zero greenhouse gasses are achieved, we should eventually reverse some of this temperature increase and get some cooling."
According to the IPCC, 2,400 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide have been emitted since 1850. We can only let 400 billion more tonnes to maintain 1.5 C.
This means that 86% of the planet's carbon budget has been spent.
Furthermore, there is no way to be protected from the impacts of climate change.
Professor Katharine Hayhoe is the chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy. She says that it is no longer possible to assume that people from more secure and wealthy countries such as Canada, Germany, Japan and the U.S. can weather the worst effects of a rapidly changing climate. We are all in the same boat and will face a challenge within our lifetimes.