Headline RoundupMarch 20th, 2023

World Running Out of Time to Avoid Climate Change Threshold: UN Report

AllSides Summary

The world will likely fail to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels without rapid action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, scientists said in a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. 

Key Quotes: The report said global temperatures had already reached 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial levels, leading to “widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere.” While some of these changes may be “unavoidable and/or irreversible,” the report said, they “can be limited by deep, rapid and sustained global greenhouse gas emissions reduction.” An IPCC press release added, “Every increment of warming results in rapidly escalating hazards,” including heat waves, droughts, food insecurity, and more intense rainfall

For Context: This is the IPCC’s sixth Assessment Report combining its findings; the fifth report was released in 2014. It was produced by “hundreds of leading experts in the different areas” who volunteered their time, the IPCC said, in a process overseen by IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee. The 1.5-degree benchmark was a focus of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, in which countries committed to a goal of keeping warming below 2 degrees. 

How the Media Covered It: Coverage was less common in right-rated news sources, some of which framed the report as “doomsday rhetoric” that “often draws skepticism from critics over the urgency of the problem.” Meanwhile, coverage in left-rated sources frequently reflected the report’s dire framing, using phrases like “catastrophic warming” and highlighting a quote from U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, who said, “The climate time-bomb is ticking.”

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