by Kate Snow for CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) — For the first time, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that the climate system is warming and that changes are now happening faster than previously forecast.
While the report identifies many risks — for coastal regions, agriculture, ecosystems and economies — as a result of climate change, it also warns of “increased heat extremes with high confidence.”
The new report, published Thursday, represents the fourth in a series of major studies done by the IPCC every few years. They are necessary to give governments the necessary guidance and advice in assessing the risk and potential impacts of climate change.
The findings from the report call for a revolution in energy use. There are four main themes outlined:
-Use of renewable energy will need to increase by a significant amount – considerably beyond current rates
-Limiting the rise in global average temperature to less than 2 degrees C (3.6 F) will be extremely challenging, but there are ways to limit the rise
-Overseas development is critically important to meeting the 2 C limit
-Reducing emissions will require bold policy action
The report states that “the climate system is already changing rapidly, with impacts already being felt on all continents and across all ocean basins.
“Climate change is caused by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting atmospheric concentrations are expected to continue to increase over the 21st century.
“These emissions are expected to continue to increase over the 21st century in the absence of significant mitigation efforts.”
The report also highlights the fact that only a minor rise in global average temperature will reduce the risks from climate change.
“The rate of greenhouse gas emission is set to increase again after 2020,” the report says. “Although reducing emissions remains critical to avoiding potentially dangerous anthropogenic climate change, emission reduction efforts can be thought of in order to limit warming to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) instead of 2 °C.
“If recent trends continue, it is likely that the global temperature will be 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels by mid-century.”