The first installment of the long-awaited Sixth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was published on 9th August 2021, and its message was clear – we need to act, urgently. (Watch the full IPCC Press Conference here)
Hundreds of leading international scientists contributed to the report, which ‘addresses the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science, and combining multiple lines of evidence from paleoclimate, observations, process understanding, and global and regional climate simulations’ (IPCC).
It paints a picture of the ‘unprecedented’ changes in the climate system, and the ‘unequivocal’ role that human activity has played in climate change, which is causing a plethora of weather and climate extremes around the world.
Under proposed plans for emissions reductions, global warming is still set to increase in the lead up to 2050. This warming has a direct impact on changes in the climate system and global water cycle, meaning that we will see increases in heatwaves, droughts, storms and ice melt.
A finding that is particularly tough to bear, because it affects many future generations, is that many changes resulting from greenhouse gas emissions are ‘irreversible for centuries to millennia’.
In order to limit the damage of human-induced global warming, the report concludes that the need to reach net zero CO2 emissions is crucial, alongside the reduction in other greenhouse gas emissions.
The report is timely as world leaders gear up for the UN COP26 summit, taking place in Glasgow this November.
The full report is available here: