.
T

he Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest, and most comprehensive, report on Monday, which, they say, "provides the most updated physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, combining the latest advances in climate science, and multiple lines of evidence." The report is indeed comprehensive, with 234 scientists from 66 countries surveying 14,000 peer reviewed articles on all aspects of climate science over the past eight years, finding that climate change is widespread and intensifying even more rapidly than previously believed. 

The document provides few surprises to those who have been watching and experiencing the effects of a warming planet for decades, or to the scientists who have been warning of climate change for over a century. The climate emergency is no longer a distant threat; already today millions of people around the world are being displaced, threatened by or experiencing record storms, wildfires, earthquakes, droughts, food insecurity, floods, and more. 

A World On Fire

What the report does provide are the starkest statements to date of the causes of climate change - human greenhouse gas emissions, and society's reliance on fossil fuels. Critically, it also states, unequivocally, that the earth is warming faster than previously feared. 

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres called the report a "code red for humanity." 

"The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable," Guterres said in a statement. "Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk. Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible."

"Climate change is transforming our planet in unprecedented ways, with far-reaching effects that we are already seeing – making heatwaves, extreme rainfall, fire weather, and droughts more frequent and severe." John Kerry, the United States' Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, tweeted. "These extreme events will only become more drastic in the future – this is why we cannot wait. Now is the time for action and Glasgow must be a turning point in this crisis. We need all countries to take the bold steps required to keep 1.5°C within reach."

The report is more explicit than previous reports, stating that greenhouse gases are undeniably responsible for the climate crisis and that there can no longer be any question that most of this warming is from natural causes. Climate change is already severely impacting life in every region of the planet, adding to food insecurity, migration, crumbling infrastructure, health crises, conflict, and economic instability. The economic impacts of climate change were more fully laid out by a June report from the World Bank, The Economic Case for Nature, which states that a conservative estimates of a collapse in wild pollination, food from marine fisheries, timber from native forests, etc., could result in a significant decline in global GDP: $2.7 trillion in 2030, with low-income countries hit hardest.

Worst Impacts Of Climate Change Still Mitigable

While the situation looks dire, the report does not suggest that the problems are irreversible.

"From a physical science perspective, limiting human-induced global warming to a specific level requires limiting cumulative CO2 emissions, reaching at least net-zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions," the report states. "Strong, rapid and sustained reductions in CH4 emissions would also limit the warming effect resulting from declining aerosol pollution and would improve air quality."

The countries most primed to make those rapid reductions are those most culpable for the current state of affairs. Several world leaders tweeted their support of action, while overlooking their country's role in ignoring decades of scientific warnings. As recently as June, the G7 Summit failed to provide any specific details on vague climate promises. The COP26 talks in Glasgow in the fall will hopefully learn from that missed opportunity. 

Professor Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy, said in a statement. "We need to mobilize our collective ingenuity and resourcefulness against a scale of threat unprecedented in human history."

“Where can we start? Almost everywhere: accelerating the transition to clean energy; reforming our most environmentally-damaging activities; and recalibrating financial flows to accelerate the economic transition," Hayhoe said. "It’s also essential to fully acknowledge and embrace the contribution that nature can make in helping us avoid the worst-case scenarios, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation."

“This report is a reality check,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte. “We now have a much clearer picture of the past, present and future climate, which is essential for understanding where we are headed, what can be done, and how we can prepare.” 

"The solutions are clear.  Inclusive and green economies, prosperity, cleaner air and better health are possible for all if we respond to this crisis with solidarity and courage," Guterres said. "All nations, especially the G20 and other major emitters, need to join the net zero emissions coalition and reinforce their commitments with credible, concrete and enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions and policies before COP26 in Glasgow."

About
Molly McCluskey
:
Molly McCluskey is an international investigative journalist and creator of Diplomatica. Follow her on Twitter @MollyEMcCluskey.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

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IPCC Report Sounds Alarm Over Failure to Act Now on Climate

Raging forest fire at night in Zakynthos, Greece. Photo by Ben Burger via AdobeStock.

August 11, 2021

The latest IPCC report on climate change sounded stark warnings about the world's inaction on climate change. While the situation is even more dire than previously believed, there remains reason for hope, writes Molly McCluskey.

T

he Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest, and most comprehensive, report on Monday, which, they say, "provides the most updated physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, combining the latest advances in climate science, and multiple lines of evidence." The report is indeed comprehensive, with 234 scientists from 66 countries surveying 14,000 peer reviewed articles on all aspects of climate science over the past eight years, finding that climate change is widespread and intensifying even more rapidly than previously believed. 

The document provides few surprises to those who have been watching and experiencing the effects of a warming planet for decades, or to the scientists who have been warning of climate change for over a century. The climate emergency is no longer a distant threat; already today millions of people around the world are being displaced, threatened by or experiencing record storms, wildfires, earthquakes, droughts, food insecurity, floods, and more. 

A World On Fire

What the report does provide are the starkest statements to date of the causes of climate change - human greenhouse gas emissions, and society's reliance on fossil fuels. Critically, it also states, unequivocally, that the earth is warming faster than previously feared. 

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres called the report a "code red for humanity." 

"The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable," Guterres said in a statement. "Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk. Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible."

"Climate change is transforming our planet in unprecedented ways, with far-reaching effects that we are already seeing – making heatwaves, extreme rainfall, fire weather, and droughts more frequent and severe." John Kerry, the United States' Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, tweeted. "These extreme events will only become more drastic in the future – this is why we cannot wait. Now is the time for action and Glasgow must be a turning point in this crisis. We need all countries to take the bold steps required to keep 1.5°C within reach."

The report is more explicit than previous reports, stating that greenhouse gases are undeniably responsible for the climate crisis and that there can no longer be any question that most of this warming is from natural causes. Climate change is already severely impacting life in every region of the planet, adding to food insecurity, migration, crumbling infrastructure, health crises, conflict, and economic instability. The economic impacts of climate change were more fully laid out by a June report from the World Bank, The Economic Case for Nature, which states that a conservative estimates of a collapse in wild pollination, food from marine fisheries, timber from native forests, etc., could result in a significant decline in global GDP: $2.7 trillion in 2030, with low-income countries hit hardest.

Worst Impacts Of Climate Change Still Mitigable

While the situation looks dire, the report does not suggest that the problems are irreversible.

"From a physical science perspective, limiting human-induced global warming to a specific level requires limiting cumulative CO2 emissions, reaching at least net-zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions," the report states. "Strong, rapid and sustained reductions in CH4 emissions would also limit the warming effect resulting from declining aerosol pollution and would improve air quality."

The countries most primed to make those rapid reductions are those most culpable for the current state of affairs. Several world leaders tweeted their support of action, while overlooking their country's role in ignoring decades of scientific warnings. As recently as June, the G7 Summit failed to provide any specific details on vague climate promises. The COP26 talks in Glasgow in the fall will hopefully learn from that missed opportunity. 

Professor Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy, said in a statement. "We need to mobilize our collective ingenuity and resourcefulness against a scale of threat unprecedented in human history."

“Where can we start? Almost everywhere: accelerating the transition to clean energy; reforming our most environmentally-damaging activities; and recalibrating financial flows to accelerate the economic transition," Hayhoe said. "It’s also essential to fully acknowledge and embrace the contribution that nature can make in helping us avoid the worst-case scenarios, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation."

“This report is a reality check,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte. “We now have a much clearer picture of the past, present and future climate, which is essential for understanding where we are headed, what can be done, and how we can prepare.” 

"The solutions are clear.  Inclusive and green economies, prosperity, cleaner air and better health are possible for all if we respond to this crisis with solidarity and courage," Guterres said. "All nations, especially the G20 and other major emitters, need to join the net zero emissions coalition and reinforce their commitments with credible, concrete and enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions and policies before COP26 in Glasgow."

About
Molly McCluskey
:
Molly McCluskey is an international investigative journalist and creator of Diplomatica. Follow her on Twitter @MollyEMcCluskey.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.