The latest installment of IPCC Report explores future impacts at different levels of warming and the resulting risks and offers options to strengthen nature’s and society’s resilience to ongoing climate change, to fight hunger, poverty, and inequality and keep Earth a place worth living on – for current as well as for future generations.
The report recognizes the interdependence of climate, biodiversity and people and integrates natural, social and economic sciences more strongly than earlier IPCC assessments. It emphasizes the urgency of immediate and more ambitious action to address climate risks and that half measures are no longer an option.
THE LATEST REPORT STATES CLIMATE RESILIENT DEVELOPMENT IS ALREADY CHALLENGING AT CURRENT WARMING LEVELS. IT WILL BECOME MORE LIMITED IF GLOBAL WARMING EXCEEDS 1.5°C (2.7°F). AND IN SOME REGIONS IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE IF GLOBAL WARMING EXCEEDS 2°C (3.6°F).
A couple of new sections make it easier for politcy makers to find local information as one new feature is a special section on climate change impacts, risks and options to act for cities and settlements by the sea, tropical forests, mountains, biodiversity hotspots, dryland and deserts, the Mediterranean as well as the polar regions.
Another feature is an atlas that presents data and findings on observed and projected climate change impacts and risks from global to regional scales, thus offering even more insights for decision makers.
Detailed separate reports give country policy makers around the world more specific information on their own region. The Australian trends (Chapter 11), include further warming and sea-level rise, with more hot days and heatwaves, less snow, more rainfall in the north, less April-October rainfall in the south-west and south-east, more extreme fire weather days in the south and east.
The New Zealand trends include further warming and sea-level rise, more hot days and heatwaves, less snow, more rainfall in the south, less rainfall in the north, and more extreme fire weather in the east. There have been fewer tropical cyclones and cold days in the region.
Extreme events include Australia's hottest and driest year in 2019 with a record-breaking number of days over 39°C, New Zealand's hottest year in 2016, three widespread marine heatwaves during 2016-2020, Category 4 cyclone Debbie in 2017, seven major hailstorms over eastern Australia and two over New Zealand from 2014-2020, three major floods in eastern Australia and three over New Zealand during 2019-2021, and major fires in southern and eastern Australia during 2019-2020.
CLIMATE TRENDS AND EXTREME EVENTS HAVE COMBINED WITH EXPOSURE AND VULNERABILITIES TO CAUSE MAJOR IMPACTS FOR MANY NATURAL SYSTEMS, WITH SOME EXPERIENCING OR AT RISK OF IRREVERSIBLE CHANGE IN AUSTRALIA (VERY HIGH CONFIDENCE) AND IN NEW ZEALAND (HIGH CONFIDENCE).
The world faces unavoidable multiple climate hazards over the next two decades with global warming of 1.5°C. Even temporarily exceeding this warming level will result in additional severe impacts, some of which will be irreversible. Risks for society will increase, including to infrastructure and low-lying coastal settlements.
Increased heatwaves, droughts and floods are already exceeding plants’ and animals’ tolerance thresholds, driving mass mortalities in species such as trees and corals. These weather extremes are occurring simultaneously, causing cascading impacts that are increasingly difficult to manage. They have exposed millions of people to acute food and water insecurity, especially in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, on Small Islands and in the Arctic.
To avoid mounting loss of life, biodiversity and infrastructure, ambitious, accelerated action is required to adapt to climate change, at the same time as making rapid, deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
So far, progress on adaptation is uneven and there are increasing gaps between action taken and what is needed to deal with the increasing risks, the new report finds. These gaps are largest among lower-income populations.
The Working Group II report is the second instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed this year. A total of 270 authors from 67 countries assessed the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and human communities at global and regional levels. Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC said:
"CLIMATE CHANGE IS A GRAVE AND MOUNTING THREAT TO OUR WELLBEING AND A HEALTHY PLANET. OUR ACTIONS TODAY WILL SHAPE HOW PEOPLE ADAPT AND NATURE RESPONDS TO INCREASING CLIMATE RISKS.
THIS REPORT IS A DIRE WARNING ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF INACTION."
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide political leaders with periodic scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. In the same year the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by the WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC. It has 195 member states.Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. For the assessment reports, IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.
The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I, dealing with the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II, dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III, dealing with the mitigation of climate change. It also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for measuring emissions and removals.
As part of the IPCC, a Task Group on Data Support for Climate Change Assessments (TG-Data) provides guidance to the Data Distribution Centre (DDC) on curation, traceability, stability, availability and transparency of data and scenarios related to the reports of the IPCC.