UN Fear that Climate Change May Become Irreversible

Mar, 2022

UN Fear that Climate Change May Become Irreversible

Many see climate change as the single greatest present threat to humanity. Yet despite the warnings by scientists about the dangers of climate change, a UN report says it is about to get a lot worse.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report states that the impact of humans on the planet could continue to increase global warming. If the level of global warming is limited to just ‘a few tenths of a degree’, Earth will degrade in 127 different ways and some of these could be ‘potentially irreversible’.

More than 1,000 pages of analysis were written and then edited by governments and scientists to a 36-page summary. The report states that climate change is a threat to the health of both humans and the planet, and further delays in cutting carbon emissions will cause us to miss an already ‘rapidly closing window of opportunity’ to secure a livable future for the human race.

The IPCC report also highlighted how the concerning danger of climate change is affecting people’s mental health. Young people in particular are concerned about what is happening to the planet and worried about what they can expect in the future, which according to the report, will be marked by much more extreme weather.

According to the IPCC report, people in the year 2100 are going to experience four times more climate extremes than we currently do. Even if the planet only heats up by another fraction of a degree, the effects will be significant. Already around 3.3 billion people’s daily lives are ‘highly vulnerable to climate change’ with them being 15 times more likely to die from extreme weather, the report says. People’s homes and communities are being destroyed, and large numbers of people are being displaced as a result of ever worsening extreme weather events. This is mainly happening to people living in the poorest parts of the world, while the causes of climate change are happening in the richest parts of the world.

The report goes on to say that more people are going to die each year from heatwaves, air pollution, disease and starvation because of global warming. How many lives are lost will depend on how much heat-trapping gas from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas gets released into the air and how the world adapts to an ever-hotter world.

However, some of the risks can still be reduced, or even prevented, if acted on quickly. Helen Adams of King’s College London, who co-authored the report, said “Climate change is killing people”, adding that “things are bad, but actually the future depends on us, not the climate”.



1. The report states that if global warming increases by 10 degrees, the Earth will degrade.



2. How much original research analysis was there before it was summarised?


3. What does the report claim will be the main threat to mankind’s health and safety in the future as a result of the effects of climate change?


4. The report claims that by the year 2100

a. there will be at least four extreme weather events every year.
b. extreme weather conditions will be four times worse than they are now.
c. extreme weather will destroy people’s homes and communities.


5. According to the report, what will determine how many people die as a result of climate change?


6. All of the risks of climate change can be prevented if changes are made now.



  • What are your thoughts on the UN’s new climate report?
  • How concerned about climate change are you?
  • Do you think governments are doing enough to help reduce the threat of a climate change catastrophe? If not, why do you think that is?
  • Albert Einstein said: “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” How do you think people can influence governments and authorities to take more action to reduce the risk of irreversible environmental damage?
  • Do you think new technologies are doing enough to progress on climate change or do you think they make it worse? Explain.
  • What do you think are the biggest dangers that new technologies present to society and/or business? Why?
  • Has your country experienced any extreme weather events in recent years?
  • How would you describe the quality of the air where you live?
  • What do you imagine the world will look like 100 years from now if global warming is not stopped?
  • ‘People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.’ — Archbishop Desmond Tutu. What do you think about this statement?