The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday released its crucial report, stating that human activities have modified the environment at an “unprecedented” rate.

The scientists in the committee found that over the next 20 years, the global temperatures are likely to rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius on an average.

The assessment gains significance as extreme weather conditions are being reported from across the globe, including India, where heavy monsoons have triggered floods in many states.

This assessment is considered to be the first major analysis on the science behind climate change since 2013. The report was released ahead of COP26, an important environment summit to be held in Scotland’s Glasgow city in November.

“Today’s IPCC Working Group 1 Report is a code red for humanity,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, according to the BBC. “If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. I count on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure COP26 is a success.”

Monday’s landmark report said that emissions of greenhouse gases because of human activities were responsible for causing approximately 1.1 degree Celsius of warming of the Earth since 1850-1990.

“Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion – such as continued sea level rise – are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years,” the report said.

The report was based on over 14,000 studies from across the world and highlights the actions to tackle climate change for policymakers and the public.

“This assessment is based on improved observational datasets to assess historical warming, as well progress in scientific understanding of the response of the climate system to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions,” the report said.

The report from the global panel on climate change comprises a 42-page document, named “Summary for Policymakers”. This comes ahead of a series of reports that will be released in the next few months, reported the BBC.

A look at the main observations:

  1. The report predicts that in the next few decades, the effects of climate change will increase in all regions.
  2. In coming years, India will begin to see more effects of climate change, including glacial retreat in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, compounding effects of rising sea levels, unpredictable monsoon, and severe tropical cyclones that will lead to floods. The country will also see an increase in the levels of heat, reported the Hindustan Times.  
  3. “For 1.5°C of global warming, there will be increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons and shorter cold seasons,” the report said. “At 2 degrees Celsius of global warming, heat extremes would more often reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health.”
  4. “Changes to the ocean, including warming, more frequent marine heatwaves, ocean acidification, and reduced oxygen levels have been clearly linked to human influence,” the report has found. “These changes affect both ocean ecosystems and the people that rely on them, and they will continue throughout at least the rest of this century.”
  5. “Further warming will amplify permafrost thawing, and the loss of seasonal snow cover, melting of glaciers and ice sheets, and loss of summer Arctic sea ice,” the report has predicted.