The world’s leading climate science organisations have joined forces to launch a new report ahead of key UN talks in New York, which states the latest science on climate change and shines a light on the signs and impacts of global warming.

Climate change is accelerating, with sea levels rising and ice sheets melting faster than ever. The five-year period from 2014 to 2019 is the warmest on record, as carbon dioxide emissions have hit new highs.

Recognising that climate change is one of the most important issues we face right now, and responding to the ‘United in Science’ report, Prof Rowan Sutton (Director of Science (Climate) for NCAS, University of Reading) said: 

“This new report shows how rapid climate change, directly caused by human activities, is continuing apace. The impacts are ever more widespread, evident, and costly. This pattern will continue and get worse until the goals of the Paris Agreement - to bring net human emissions of greenhouse gases to zero - are achieved. Even then, warming will continue for some decades.”

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The climate statement pulls together the latest science and underlines the fact that human-induced warming is impacting the scale and intensity of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, storms and wildfires. The challenges are immense and there is a growing need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

NCAS’s Prof Sutton added: 

“The important point is that we do know what to do, and many of the solutions are already available. It is simply a question of collective will.”

Under the international Paris Agreement, countries committed to curbing temperature rises to ‘well below’ 2°C, but current commitments put the world on track for around 3°C of warming.

The new report urges countries across the world the up their climate efforts, in a bid to limit increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst impacts.

 

Image: A colour scale that represents annual global temperatures from 1850 to 2018. The colour of each stripe represents the temperature of a single year. Blues are cooler years; the reds are warmer.