One of the report’s lead authors, Dr Tamsin Edwards, said: ‘Unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the 1.5°C target will be beyond reach.’
Cities are at risk as the climate warms, experiencing hotter temperatures in heatwaves and flash flooding from heavy rain.
The study also warns that unlikely events such as ice sheet collapses, abrupt changes to ocean circulation – which drives weather patterns – and much higher warming cannot be ruled out.
However, the report says that humanity still could make a change for the better if it takes action now.
The IPCC’s most optimistic scenario describes a world where global CO2 emissions are cut to net zero around 2050. Societies switch to more sustainable practices, with focus shifting from economic growth to overall well-being. Investments in education and health go up. Inequality falls.