Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC): Nearly half of the world’s population is already highly vulnerable to climate change

Professor Francisco Meza, from the Faculty of Agronomy and Forest Engineering and the Center for Global Change, is one of the Chilean authors who participated in the recent world report on climate change. “This report carries a serious warning about the consequences of inaction,” said scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Human-caused climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption to nature, affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, despite efforts to reduce risks. People and ecosystems that have the least capacity to respond are the most affected, scientists said in the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) .

The report carries a serious warning about the consequences of inaction, and the urgency of taking action. Almost half of the world’s population is already highly vulnerable to climate change, and in the next two decades, the planet will face several unavoidable climate hazards with global warming of 1.5°C (2.7°F). Even if this level of warming is temporarily exceeded, there will be additional severe impacts, some of which will be irreversible. Risks to society will increase, particularly to low-lying coastal infrastructure and settlements.

“This report is highly relevant because it provides evidence and data that allow us to appreciate the magnitude of climate change by focusing on the population and natural systems” – Francisco Meza, UC academic

In order to avoid further loss of life, biodiversity and infrastructure, ambitious climate change adaptation measures are urgently needed while achieving rapid and deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. According to the new report, progress on adaptation is uneven, and the gaps between what is being done and what is needed to tackle rising risks are widening . These gaps are greater among lower-income populations.

Professor Francisco Meza, from the Faculty of Agronomy and Forestry Engineering and the UC Global Change Center , is one of the authors of chapter 5 of the report, “Chapter 5: Food, fiber, and other ecosystem products.”

“This report is highly relevant because it provides evidence and data that allow us to appreciate the magnitude of climate change by focusing on the population and natural systems,” explains Meza.

“The work is not only to document potential effects but also to evaluate the feasibility of adaptation strategies from the technical point of view and their social acceptance and political viability . The level of integration of a risk approach that identifies elements such as threat, exposure and vulnerability is combined with the identification of critical risks, limits and facilitators of adaptation, the development of resilient adaptation pathways, and the call for the transformation of socio-ecological systems”, says the researcher.

“ It was an arduous work of three years of critical analysis of the literature, discussion among peers and bringing the analyzes closer to the sustainable development objectives that allow decision makers to have robust information on the state of the climate system, impacts and possibilities of action to substantially reduce its effects -observes Meza-. We are satisfied with the task carried out and with the participation of experts from Chile, but we know that the work continues well beyond the delivery of this report.”

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