Findings Sound Alarm Over Climate Change, Call for Stronger Measures

If global warming continues at the current pace, natural disasters such as heavy rains and droughts will occur more frequently, greatly affecting ecosystems. Each country must urgently take serious action.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released the Synthesis Report of the Sixth Assessment Report, which compiled the latest findings on global warming.

The IPCC has been analyzing the current status of global warming and its impact on the natural environment in three working groups. The report combines these findings and will serve as the basis for future discussions.

Under the Paris Agreement, an international framework to combat global warming, limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 C above preindustrial levels was effectively set as a goal. However, global temperatures have already risen 1.1 C, and the road to achieving this goal is becoming increasingly difficult.

According to the report’s projections, if global warming continues, the temperature rise will exceed 1.5 C in the first half of the 2030s. By the end of the century, it is predicted to reach 3.2 C. It can be said that the report expressed a strong sense of urgency over the current situation.

Countries have already set high targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The report said that even if this were to be achieved, the increase could not be limited to 2 C.

There is a significant difference between 1.5 C and 2 C in terms of how temperature increases will affect the frequency of extreme climate events and damage to ecosystems. Once again, the difficulty of achieving the 1.5 C target must be recognized.

The IPCC has now concluded that in order to achieve the 1.5 C target, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 43% below 2019 levels by 2030 and by 60% by 2035.

The IPCC possibly aimed to encourage countries that will consider concrete measures to set stricter targets from now on. It is hoped that discussions will be deepened on such occasions as the COP28 U.N. climate change conference to be held in the United Arab Emirates at the end of the year.

It is important to promote decarbonization by reducing fossil fuel-based thermal power generation as much as possible. Japan should contribute to the world by focusing its efforts on the development and spread of technologies for this purpose.

One important measure will be to utilize nuclear power generation, which emits no carbon dioxide, in addition to accelerating the introduction of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the global energy situation has changed dramatically with the procurement of natural resources becoming difficult, and the trend toward decarbonization is also receding.

The international community must bring the war to an end at an early date by getting Russia to withdraw and restore an environment in which the world can work cooperatively on measures to combat global warming.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 27, 2023)