The time for ‘projected changes’ is in the past, says the UN Climate Change Panel's report. Two climate scientists who have worked on the report, Aditi Mukherji, Principal Researcher, International Water Management Institute and Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC Report and Professor Krishna Achutarao of IIT Delhi discuss it threadbare.
With extreme climate events striking the planet from every angle, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has ditched its usual cautious commentary.
In its most clinical assessment yet, the world’s top authority on climate science has come out with definitive statements like "human beings are causing climate change," "extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe” and “climate change will impact every nook and corner of the planet."
The head of the United Nations has termed it the "code red for humanity." The UN report has predicted that India will see even further acceleration in the recession of the glaciers and snow caps on the Himalayas across the 21st century. Rainfall will become more erratic and intense and so will heatwaves. This will spell doom for millions of farmers dependent on the monsoon. Sea level rise may send cities underwater earlier than predicted.
CNBC-TV18 caught up with two climate scientists who have worked on this report. Professor Krishna Achutarao of IIT Delhi who is the lead author in the IPCC 6th Assessment Report and Aditi Mukherji, Principal Researcher, International Water Management Institute and Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC Report.
"It has been the usual style of cautiously reporting the science, but since the last report, we have noticed … that the changes are occurring at an even greater pace than we were expecting.” Professor Krishna Achutarao. According to the climate scientist, the biggest takeaway from the report is the sense of urgency.
He said currently, humanity finds itself in “completely unchartered territory,” as such rapid changes in climate have never been experienced. Underscoring his point is the IPPC finding that the Indian Ocean, which includes the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, has warmed faster than the global average due to a rise in the average temperature.
The previous reports would have been more about “projected changes,” said Aditi Mukherji, Principal Researcher, International Water Management Institute and Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC Report. But now we have real-time content on “observed changes.” This can only mean that climate change has already happened. We are in the thick of a manmade emergency.
"There is a very interesting figure in the current summary for policymakers (SPM) -- around observed changes. Every bit of it is either experiencing high temperature or high precipitation.” Mukherji added. Science has also improved, making it possible to detect those changes that much easier.
"For any of the events that now happen we are able to say how much of that is made more likely because of climate change,” she said.
For full discussion, watch the accompanying video