Climate change: Understanding the latest IPCCC Report

The new IPCCC Sixth Assessment Synthesis Report (from the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change) was released on March 20th. The full report took 8 years, runs to 8,000 pages and involved over 780 scientists! Let’s break it down to make it easier to understand:

Chris Elisara writes (based on the 36 page Summary for Policymakers):

Note the “very high confidence” level of the scientific consensus of these findings. First the bad news: “Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health (very high confidence). There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all (very high confidence) … The choices and actions implemented in this decade will have impacts now and for thousands of years” (IPCC, p.25)

While the time to act is fast running out before we are locked into higher levels of temperature increase with the worst possible outcomes for people and the planet, there is still hope if we can step up do what’s needed now. To quote the report again, “Deep, rapid and sustained mitigation and accelerated implementation of adaptation actions in this decade would reduce projected losses and damages for humans and ecosystems (very high confidence (p.27). Feasible, effective, and low-cost options for mitigation and adaptation are already available, with differences across systems and regions. (high confidence) (p.30, emphasis added.)

The good news is that we already have the technology and solutions we need at hand. The time to rally and use them is now.

To learn more about what LWCNN partners are saying about the report, read the related news items below:

  • Katharine Hayhoe, WEA’s Climate Ambassador with a one minute video summary of the Synthesis Report. She also released a helpful summary on Twitter, including: “Our choices matter and the faster we act, the better off we will all be – all of us who call this planet home.”
  • A Rocha International’s Response to the latest IPCC Report highlights the devastating reality and risks the report reveals, and that there are not one but three crises: climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty and inequality. A Rocha International emphasises that there is a ‘rapidly closing window of opportunity’ but if we act now, we can still secure a liveable, sustainable future for all.