The new IPCC report – a summary

Florine van den Bent

Marketing Manager at Regreener

What is the IPCC?

The IPPC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) was established by the United Nations in 1988 and is formed by global leading climate scientist. This international panel conducts research on the state of the climate with the aim of informing and advising policy makers on actions that can be taken to combat climate change. A report is released every five to seven years, with the most recent currently being delivered in four parts between August 2021 and October 2022. On February 28, 2022, the latest report from the IPCC was presented.
 

What is the message of the most recent report?

The results are alarming, the impact of climate change appears to be even greater than initially thought. Not only nature, but also the stability of our society is at risk. Much of the damage and loss is now classified as irreversible, even if we stay within the 1.5 degree warming, as was agreed in the Paris Agreement. Nearly 50% of the world’s population already lives in an area at risk and is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

It is only a few months after COP26, where world leaders agreed on drastic measures against global warming. The new IPCC report underscores the importance of large-scale action and makes the magnitude of the task facing world leaders painfully clear.

Debra Roberts, IPCC co-chair, explains that this is a key moment. “Our report makes it very clear that this is the decade in which we must act if we are to turn things around.” Authors of the report argue that there is still a short window of time to avoid the worst.

 

What were the main conclusions?

Larger impact and higher risk than initially thought

The report shows that extreme weather events associated with climate change, such as floods and heat waves, affect people and other species much more severely than previous assessments indicated.

This affects everyone, but the degree of impact is strongly related to where you live. For example, in the past 10 years, 15 times more people have died from the effects of floods, storms and droughts in vulnerable areas such as parts of the Americas, South Asia and Africa.

Nature is under severe pressure due to rising temperatures. Coral reefs are on the verge of extinction and forest fires are becoming more frequent. In addition, continued and increasingly rapid sea level rise will increasingly threaten coastal towns, which may be flooded or even lost.

Extinct species

The report shows that more than half of scientifically studied species are looking for cooler places, such as the mountains or towards the poles. Even with a warming of 1.5 degrees, it is predicted that 3 to 14 percent of animal species will become extinct. At a 3-degree increase, this will rise to 29 percent.

Health implications

The consequences for human health are also profound. The increasing temperature is causing delays in agricultural production growth, putting pressure on food security. There is concern about the climate impact on hunger and malnutrition, which is already visible in parts of Africa and South America.

Pandemics will have a greater chance of spreading, with tropical disease dengue in particular identified as a threat. More deaths will also occur as a result of the heat.

Lastly, it was notable that for the first time this report also addressed the impact on mental well-being. This can be affected by stress, trauma, or the loss of loved ones and culture.

 

Next Steps

In October, the next climate summit will take place in Sharm el-Sheikh, for which this IPCC report carries a clear guidance and message. During this conference, the emphasis will be on finance; the promised budget from the rich countries will have to actually go to the poor countries to support climate action.

 

Conclusion

The first overarching message of this report is clear: we must act. The second crucial message is that the time to act is almost up – but not quite closed. There is still time to act, and we must do so quickly, fully and inclusively.

Want to do something yourself to combat climate change? Then check out our solutions for taking climate action.

Let’s regreen the planet together!

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