Global temperature: UN’s code red

  • IASbaba
  • August 24, 2021
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10TH AUG 2021: The Big Picture – Global temperature: UN’s code red



  • GS-23: Environmental Conservation
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Global temperature: UN’s code red

Context: Global temperature: UN’s code red. United Nations’ inter-governmental panel on climate change (IPCC) has projected global temperature to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming over the next 20 years under all scenarios. 

  • The Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis report has been prepared by the IPCC’s Working Group I and is the first of the three instalments of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).
  • It provides clarity on the future of the planet as concentrations of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue to accumulate unabated in the atmosphere and declare that almost all the observed warming of the planet since the late-1800s is human caused and most of them are irreversible.


  • The average surface temperature of the Earth will cross 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next 20 years, and 2°C by the middle of the century without sharp reduction of emissions. 
  • There will be further warming in the coming decades unless there are immediate, strong and rapid reductions to global emissions. 
  • Thus, even if emissions are brought to net-zero by mid-century, there will be an “overshoot” of the 1.5°C limit by 0.1°C. 
  • Retreating snowlines and melting glaciers can cause a change in the water cycle, the precipitation patterns, increased floods as well as an increased scarcity of water in the future.
  • The effect of human activities has warmed the climate at a rate unprecedented in 2,000 years. 
  • CO2 concentrations are the highest in at least two million years Carbon budget for a 66 per cent chance of keeping warming to below 1.5C is now 400 billion tonnes of CO2. 
  • Extreme sea level events that previously occurred once in 100 years could happen every year by the end of this century.

Effect on India: 

  • As the rise in temperature of Indian ocean will be comparatively higher so will be case in increase of sea level rise. 
  • Extreme temperatures, draught, cyclones, etc. all kind of effects Indian subcontinent will face.
  • India would face similar impacts in addition to frequent occurrence of glacial lake bursts in the Himalayan region and inundation of low-lying coastal areas. 
  • For India, possible increase in annual mean precipitation could be accompanied by more severe rainfall events over southern parts of the country in the next few decades.
  • Also, if emissions continue to rise, oceans and land, two important sinks and the latter a key part of India’s climate action plan, would be greatly weakened in their ability to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide.

What Needs to Be Done:

  • The report explains that from a physical science perspective, limiting human-induced global warming to a specific level requires limiting cumulative carbon dioxide emissions, reaching at least net zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions.
  • “Strong, rapid and sustained reductions in methane emissions would also limit the warming effect resulting from declining aerosol pollution”.
  • All nations, especially the G20 and other major emitters, need to join the net-zero emissions coalition and reinforce their commitments.
  • Greater emphasis on widening observational networks, sustained monitoring, expanding research on regional changes in climate and their impacts. 
  • Afforestation efforts helps to mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration.  


  • The message of the IPCC report is crystal clear: we have to raise the ambition level of mitigation. Inclusive and green economies, prosperity, cleaner air and better health are possible for all, if we respond to this crisis with solidarity and courage. 

Can you answer this question now?

  • Elucidate the United Nations’ inter-governmental panel on climate change (IPCC) report on the Climate Change 2021.

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