Greater loss of life, biodiversity and infrastructure should be expected unless efforts to adapt to climate change dramatically accelerate, a U.N. scientific panel said in a report issued Monday.
Biodiversity loss, degradation and damage to ecosystems are key risks for every region due to past global warming, "and will continue to escalate with every increment of global warming," said the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The IPCC report "is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction," panel chairman Hoesung Lee said in a news release. "It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our well-being and a healthy planet. Our actions today will shape how people adapt and nature responds to increasing climate risks."
The latest scientific climate report from the IPCC, "Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability," was endorsed by 195 member governments. A final assessment expected later this year will be used to prepare for the next U.N. climate change conference in 2023, when countries will review progress toward the Paris Agreement goals, including the goal of keeping global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and limiting it to 1.5 degrees.
The latest report recognizes the interdependence of climate, biodiversity and people, and offers more specific approaches to natural, social and economic measures that could help to address climate risks. "By restoring degraded ecosystems and effectively and equitably conserving 30% to 50% of Earth's land, freshwater and ocean habitats, society can benefit from nature's capacity to absorb and store carbon, and we can accelerate progress towards sustainable development, but adequate finance and political support are essential," said Hans-Otto Portner, co-chairman of the IPCC working group, in the news release.
Investors are increasingly urging for more awareness of biodiversity and other sustainability issues.
Olga Hancock, deputy head of responsible investment for the Church Commissioners for England's £9.2 billion ($12.3 billion) endowment in London, called the report a breakthrough.
"It highlights the crisis we face due to the combination of risks from climate change, biodiversity loss, social inequality, unsustainable use of global resources and other damaging global trends," Ms. Hancock said in an emailed statement. "The IPCC has highlighted to policymakers and all other stakeholders the need to tackle these issues in an integrated manner,"