The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest assessment on climate change calling it a major threat to human well-being and health of the planet. The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report warned that there is a narrowing window for action in this global challenge.
Cities, where more than half the world’s populations lives, was the target of the report. The IPCC provided a detailed assessment of climate change impacts, risks and adaptation in cities.
“Together, growing urbanization and climate change create complex risks, especially for those cities that already experience poorly planned urban growth, high levels of poverty and unemployment, and a lack of basic services,” Debra Roberts said. “But cities also provide opportunities for climate action – green buildings, reliable supplies of clean water and renewable energy, and sustainable transport systems that connect urban and rural areas can all lead to a more inclusive, fairer society.”
Authored by 270 experts and scientists from 67 countries, the report concluded that “ambitious, accelerated action” is needed to “avoid a mounting loss of life, biodiversity and infrastructure.” And cities are at the forefront. While climate hazards have adversely affected people’s health, lives and livelihoods, as well as property and critical infrastructure.
“But cities also provide opportunities for climate action—green buildings, reliable supplies of clean water and renewable energy, and sustainable transport systems that connect urban and rural areas can all lead to a more inclusive, fairer society,” Roberts said.
The key to securing a liveable future is safeguarding and strengthening nature, the report stated.
“Healthy ecosystems are more resilient to climate change and provide life-critical services such as food and clean water,” Hans-Otto Pörtner, IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair, said. “By restoring degraded ecosystems and effectively and equitably conserving 30 to 50 per cent of Earth’s land, freshwater and ocean habitats, society can benefit from nature’s capacity to absorb and store carbon, and we can accelerate progress towards sustainable development, but adequate finance and political support are essential.”
But the climate challenges involve everyone—governments, the private sector, civil society—as the window for action is narrowing, the assessment showed, and concerted global action is needed to sustain a liveable future.
“This report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction,” Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC, said. “It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our well-being and a healthy planet. Our actions today will shape how people adapt and nature responds to increasing climate risks.”