SCIENTISTS have delivered a “final warning” on the urgent need to take more ambitious action on climate change after the publication of a damning report from the United Nations.

The final instalment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s sixth assessment report was published on Monday and warned that there was a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable future for the global population.

After eight years of research by hundreds of climate scientists, the publication of the synthesis report is likely to be the last comprehensive assessment of the climate while there is still a chance of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Previously, scientists have warned that once the planet warms past this point much of the changes inflicted upon the environment will be irreversible. Indeed, the burning of fossil fuels has already caused the earth to warm by 1.1C, which has brought with it an increase in extreme weather events and an associated scarcity of food and water for millions of people.

The report’s authors said that human activity has unequivocally caused the warming of the planet, with current policies set to increase temperatures to above 2C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

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In order to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5C, CO2 emissions would have to fall by 48% by 2030, 65% by 2035, and 99% by 2050.

IPCC author Professor Peter Thorne said: “The report is pretty clear that we will, almost regardless of emissions scenarios, reach 1.5C in the first half of the next decade.

“There is some uncertainty about that. The real question is whether our collective choices between now and then mean we reach and stabilise at or around 1.5C or whether we blast right through 1.5C, crash through 2C and keep going.”

Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell said that the report had to serve as a call to action for politicians and ordinary people.

“This report is brutally clear,” he said. “There is nowhere to run and nowhere to stick our heads in the sand.

“We can’t treat this as a far away threat or an imaginary conceptual thing in the distance when it is already having a direct impact on hundreds of millions of people around the world.

The National:

“The age of fossil fuels has to end if we are to have any kind of sustainable future. That means ramping up the transition to clean and renewable energy and making the kind of investment that can rebuild our economy.

"We need to review everything from top to bottom, to understand and make sure every minutiae, every target and every action is precise. That means looking at our energy supply, our transport networks, our food production and the way we heat our buildings, and asking big and fundamental questions.

“It has to serve as a rallying cry to the world. The things we do in Scotland are vitally important, but we need to see global action.”

However, despite the disheartening conclusions of the report, environmentalists have pointed out that humanity possesses the scientific and technological expertise to avert catastrophic levels of warming.

Mary Church, head of campaigns for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said that the Scottish Government should heed the warnings of the report and ditch “dodgy technologies” such as carbon capture.

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She said: “What’s crystal clear is that this crisis is being driven by corporations who are profiting from climate catastrophe and over-consumption by the rich, particularly in the global north.

"Despite the bleak findings of today's report, hope remains because the science also shows that another world, with decent standards of living for all, is still possible within the remaining carbon budget. But only if we rapidly phase out fossil fuels, and wealthy countries responsible for driving the climate to the brink start doing their fair share of action.

"The Scottish Government must heed the science, live up to its own rhetoric on justice and end its fixation with the dodgy technologies like carbon capture that are being pushed by industry that would gamble with life on earth for the sake of squeezing out every last drop of oil, and urgently get on with delivering a just transition to a renewable energy economy."