United Nations scientists in a landmark study say humanity’s damaging impact on the climate is a “statement of fact”.
The report says that ongoing emissions of warming gases could also see a key temperature limit broken in just over a decade.
The authors also show that a rise in sea levels approaching 2 metres by the end of this century “cannot be ruled out”.
But there is new hope that deep cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases could stabilise rising temperatures.
This sober assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) features in a 42-page document known as the Summary for Policymakers.
It leads a series of reports that will be published over coming months and is the first major review of the science of climate change since 2013.
Its release comes less than three months before a key climate summit in Glasgow known as COP26.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “Today’s IPCC Working Group 1 Report is a code red for humanity.”
According to Prof. Ed Hawkins, from the University of Reading, UK, and one of the report’s authors, the scientists cannot be any clearer on this point.
The authors say that since 1970, global surface temperatures have risen faster than in any other 50-year period over the past 2,000 years.
This warming is “already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe”.
Whether it’s heatwaves like the ones recently experienced in Greece and western North America, or floods like those in Germany and China, “their attribution to human influence has strengthened” over the past decade.