Warning bells: The new IPCC report on the state of the climate stated that India should brace itself for more intense rainfall and heatwaves by 2030 | Photo: CBS News

1.5°C warming limit will be breached in next 20 years, warns IPCC report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed the world’s worst fears in a report released today–climate change has already begun and there is no going back. The IPCC’S Physical Science Basis report, which is the first instalment of its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), has been backed by 195 governments. The report blamed human activities for the state of the climate. India will continue to see a rise in the frequency and severity of hot extreme events and rain, the report added. 

The report stated there are no pathways left that can limit warming to 1.5°C without crossing the threshold first. Warming beyond 1.5°C will be breached in the next couple of decades, the report warned. The only way out was to cut CO2 emissions that will bring temperatures down by the end of the century.

If sustained efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are undertaken, air quality will be the first to improve, while global temperatures would take 20-30 years to stabilise, according to the report.

Monsoon fury causes widespread flooding across India

After furious rains lashed coastal and peninsular states over the last fortnight, monsoon winds moved further inland towards central and northern India this fortnight. Heavy rains in the Gwalior-Chambal region incapacitated large parts of Madhya Pradesh. According to a statement by the state CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, around 1,171 villages in Shivpuri, Sheopur, Datia, Gwalior, Bhind and Rewa areas have been affected by flooding. Neighbouring Rajasthan too felt the brunt of extreme rainfall, as water levels in the Chambal river rose. The release of dam water from the Chambal, in conjunction with heavy spells of rain, has caused severe flooding in many parts of Uttar Pradesh where India’s Disaster Management Division has reported flooding in 466 villages across 21 districts, with at least 104,704 people affected. In the east, West Bengal faced a critical flood situation following spells of extreme rain that inundated large parts of Purba and Paschim Bardhaman, Paschim Medinipur, Hooghly, Howrah, South 24 Parganas and Birbhum districts. Twenty-three people have been reported to have been killed in the floods while 4,00,000 ha of agricultural land has been affected. With fresh spells of heavy rains lashing Himalayan states, several landslides with mass casualties in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have also been reported.

Population exposed to floods grew 20-24% between 2000-2015: Study

Between 2000 and 2015, the proportion of the global population that was exposed to flooding grew by 20-24%–10 times higher than previous estimates–a new study found. The study used satellite imagery to observe 913 large flood events from 2000 to 2018. It estimated the total inundation was 2.23 million sqkm and the total number of people affected was 255-290 million. According to the study, climate change projections for 2030 predict that the number of people exposed to floods will increase. The changing data on where and how floods are being reported from and who is being affected is a result of rapid urbanisation, flood mitigation infrastructure and rising settlements in floodplains, the study stated.  

Drought in Assam: Climate change to blame?

Experts linked climate change to the drought-like conditions in the rainy state of Assam. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the state recorded 21% less rainfall in July. The state government already declared the regions of Sarupathar and Golaghat as drought-hit. Experts pointed to irregular rainfall patterns for the drought, which is compounded by the lack of infrastructure and insufficient compensation from the government to affected farmers. 

3 Americans create enough emissions to kill one person: Study

Three average Americans can create enough carbon emissions to kill one person, according to a recent study published in Nature Communications. The same study estimated that emissions from one coal plant are likely to lead to 900 deaths. The study, which analysed several public health studies, found that one person globally will die prematurely as a result of increased temperature for every 4,434 tonnes of CO2 produced beyond the 2020 rate of emissions. This is equivalent to the current lifetime emissions of 3.5 Americans. The study’s authors said these figures were not definitive and could well be a “vast underestimate” because they take into account only heat-related deaths and leave out mortality from floods, storms and other climate change-related impacts. 

Gulf Stream likely to collapse, warn scientists

The Gulf Stream, one of the planet’s main potential tipping points, is on the verge of collapsing, climate scientists warned. They found “an almost complete loss of stability” of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). The currents are already on their slowest point in 1,600 years, but are nearing shutdown, according to new research. A collapse would severely affect rainfall patterns across India, South America and West Africa, increase storms and plunge temperatures.