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What the latest UN science says about climate change

People wade through a flooded street in Kawit, Cavite province, the Philippines on Oct 30, 2022. (JAM STA ROSA / AFP)

At the COP27 conference in Egypt, delegates have at their disposal decades of research into warming trajectories published by the UN climate science agency to inform their decisions.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produces reports roughly every five years that represent global scientific consensus on climate change, its causes and its impact. Last year's report tackled the main drivers of global warming and the core elements of climate science.

That was followed by two major reports this year – one in February addressing how the world will need to adapt to climate impacts, from rising seas to dwindling wildlife, and another in April on ways to mitigate climate-warming emissions.

READ MORE: UNEP: Bold emission cuts needed for climate change

Here are some of the takeaways from those reports:

Humans unequivocally to blame

* Last year's report on the physical basis for climate change unequivocally blamed humans for rising temperatures.

* It also said climate change was dangerously close to spinning out of control.

* Previously rare weather extremes are becoming more common, and some regions are more vulnerable than others.

* For the first time, the report's authors called for urgent action to curb methane. Until now, the IPCC had focused on carbon dioxide, the most abundant greenhouse gas.

A hotshot firefighter works to contain the Cedar Creek fire just east of Oakridge, Oregon, United States, on Sept 12, 2022. (DAN MORRISON / AFP)

* With time running out to prevent runaway climate change, the authors said it was worth looking into the benefits and drawbacks of geoengineering, or large-scale interventions, such as injecting particles into the atmosphere to block out solar radiation.

ALSO READ: EU report: Europe suffered year of climate chaos in 2021

* The report said the world's nations, including the wealthiest, needed to start preparing for climate impacts and adapting to a warmer world.

Urgent need to adapt to extreme weather

* News of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine eclipsed the release in February of a seminal report on how the world should prepare for a warmer world.

* With climate change already causing extreme weather worldwide, the report urged rich and poor countries alike to adapt now to impacts including more frequent heatwaves, stronger storms and higher sea levels.

* The report made clear that different regions face different risks, and offered localized projections for what to expect.

* Millions of people face poverty and food insecurity in the coming years, as climate change hits crops and water supplies and threatens to disrupt trade and labor markets.

ALSO READ: 'Climate penalty': WMO warns heatwaves will worsen air quality

* The daunting forecast for the world's poor reignited calls for a "Loss and Damage" fund through which rich nations would compensate for costs incurred by poor countries from climate-related disasters.

A goose looks for water in the dried bed of Lake Velence in Velence, Hungary, Aug 11, 2022. (ANNA SZILAGYI / AP)

It warned that climate change threatens economic growth, and for the first time highlighted the need for action at the individual level, calling on governments to agree policies to change consumer and transportation habits to encourage less waste

Following a breakthrough at the start of this year's climate summit, the issue of loss and damage is for the first time part of the UN talks' formal agenda.

Individual action matters

* It's "now or never," one report co-chair said in releasing findings that show that only drastic emissions cuts in the next few decades would prevent warming from spiraling out of control.

READ MORE: IPCC report sounds alarm on climate change for next 20 years

* The report explored how various emissions scenarios would translate into future temperature rise.

* Cities are a big part of the emissions problem, it said, but also a source of hope and positive solutions.* The energy transition to renewable sources and clean-burning fuels is moving too slowly.

ALSO READ: WEF: Climate crisis, social divides top global risks in 2022

* The report went beyond focusing on fossil fuels and manufacturing to urge strong climate action in agriculture, where farming methods and better forest protection could curb emissions.

People rest in the shades of trees in Buttes Chaumont park in Paris on Aug 3, 2022 as France experiences a heatwave. (BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)

* It warned that climate change threatens economic growth, and for the first time highlighted the need for action at the individual level, calling on governments to agree policies to change consumer and transportation habits to encourage less waste.