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UN set to unveil landmark report as climate impacts multiply

Shining desk || shiningbd

Published: 17:18, 9 August 2021  
UN set to unveil landmark report as climate impacts multiply

As heart-stopping images of fires and floods dominate news cycles worldwide, the UN's climate science panel will unveil on Monday its much-anticipated projections for temperature and sea-level rises less than three months before a crucial climate summit in Scotland.

After two weeks of virtual negotiations, 195 nations approved the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) comprehensive assessment of past and future warming on Friday in the form of a "summary for policymakers".

The text -- vetted and approved line by line, word by word -- is likely to paint a grim picture of accelerating climate change and dire threats on the horizon.

On the heels of deadly floods in India, China and northern Europe as well as asphalt-melting heatwaves in North America and southern Europe, the IPCC's report is the first so-called assessment report since 2014.

Both the world and science have changed a lot since then.

With increasingly sophisticated technology allowing scientists to measure climate change and predict its future path, the report will project global temperature changes until the end of the century under different emissions scenarios.

Based almost entirely on published research, it could forecast -- even under optimistic scenarios -- a temporary "overshoot" of the 1.5 degrees Celsius target of the Paris Agreement and revise upwards its estimates for long-term sea-level rise.

It is also expected to reflect huge progress in so-called attribution science, which allows experts to link individual extreme weather events directly to man-made climate change.

While the underlying IPCC report is purely scientific, the summary for policymakers is negotiated by national representatives, and therefore subject to competing priorities.

Belgian climate physicist and former IPCC co-chair Jean-Pascal Ypersele, who was party to the negotiations, said the talks were guided by the underlying science.

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