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EDAmbitious, accelerated action

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IPCC report highlights need to cope with climate impacts

A report published Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that weather fluctuations will increase in all regions of the globe over the coming decades. "Even with 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming, there will be increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons and shorter cold seasons, which will become more intense at 2 degrees of warming," said the IPCC report, the sixth since 1990, highlighting the need to cope with unavoidable climate impacts.

While an earlier report published last August brought forward ― by more than 10 years ― the anticipated time for 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, this year's report provides a detailed assessment of the impact and risks of climate change and adaptation in cities. "People's health, lives and livelihoods, as well as property and critical infrastructure, including energy and transportation systems, are being increasingly adversely affected by hazards from heat waves, storms and flooding, including sea level rise."

Predictions about Korea's future are concrete and rigorous as well. If temperatures keep rising owing to greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related deaths here will increase additionally by 4 percent in 2050 and 8 percent in 2090. Sea levels could rise by 2 meters within this century and by 5 meters in 2150. Specifically, annual damage in Busan, the country's second-largest city, could amount to $3 billion in 2070 and $7.4 billion in 2100.

The severity of climate risks has increased every time the IPCC published a report. Little wonder climate change is happening faster than expected. The latest report also offers a more concrete assessment of dangerous and widespread disruptions in nature caused by human-induced climate change.

To avoid a mounting loss of life, biodiversity and infrastructure ― as the report suggests ― ambitious, accelerated action is required to adapt to climate change. However, progress on adaptation has been uneven. As Lee Hoe-sung, a Korean economist and current chair of the IPCC, said in the report, the "urgency of immediate and more ambitious action to address climate risks" cannot be overemphasized.

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