Time for action! Key takeaways from the IPCC report
The latest news from the UN has sent shivers down our spines. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)published their latest report on 10 August with a shocking message: we need to act now to save… well, ourselves. Intensifying droughts, floods, extreme weather and extreme loss of biodiversity is in the cards, unless change happens quick. The following decade is, according to the report, our last chance to act.
The report, officially named AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis discloses the IPCC’s analysis of the current state of the climate, a set of possible future scenarios, climate information for regional adaptation and risk assessment, and insight to limiting future climate change. We’ve summarized the key takeaways from the report in this blog.
“We must not let the insights from this report discourage us, but rather see them as an opportunity to take action. In all seriousness, it’s not business as usual, and we’ve got proof of that. Small changes do count, however it’s the scalable action that companies can take that makes all the difference. At Worldfavor, we are committed to the vision of shaping a future where the people, planet, and economy thrive together. In order to do so, we need to realize the urgency when it comes to the current state of the climate”
Frida Emillsson – COO, Worldfavor
Human activity is the cause of the temperature rising
Human activity is the main and, frankly, only reason that the global temperature has risen to its current levels, both on land, in the atmosphere and in the oceans. According to the report “Human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2000 years”.
Human-induced climate change has already affected every corner of the earth
Surely you’ve watched the news lately; devastating forest fires in Europe, North America and Russia and unparalleled floods in China, Turkey and Germany. And that’s only in 2021.
All inhabited regions on earth have according to the report already been affected by climate change in the form of hot extremes, dry periods, or heavy rains and floods, and according to IPCC it’s “virtually certain” that human activity is the cause of these events, with even more certainty than in their previous report which was released about 8 years ago.
All climate scenarios state that the temperatures will rise at least until 2050
In the five illustrative scenarios, ranging from very low to very high projections of greenhouse gas (GHG) and CO2 emissions, the report states that the temperatures will continue rising globally for at least three decades. What’s important to understand is that with every fraction of temperature increase, the effects, like extreme weather, will intensify and become more frequent.
“Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.”
- AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis
We’re reaching more tipping points than ever
Many effects of the climate changes that we are witnessing are already irreversible, so called tipping points, and with the speed we’re moving forward, it’s not looking up. The report warns that if we exceed our 1.5 °C threshold, positive feedback loops erupted by global warming will cause permanent shifts in the earth’s system, such as accelerating the warming even further and collapse of the immense arctic ice sheets. These abrupt and irreversible changes will affect every corner of our planet, and with that – affect us. There’s no going back from these changes in the earth’s system, so it's truly now or never.
This is the last decade to take the action needed to stay below the 1.5°C threshold
We have known that the time to take necessary action is running out, but we could never have guessed at what speed. The report implies that at the current rate of emissions, our carbon budget will be exhausted in less than thirteen years. The report states that our only chance to stabilize the earth is for carbon-dioxide emissions to reach zero, and for other GHGs to reduce drastically. And that has to happen today.
The time to act is now
Though the insights from the report might feel discouraging and the situation has been described as a “code red for humanity”, we hope it’s the wake up call that the masses need. Instead of throwing in the towel, we’re hoping that these insights cut to the heart, encouraging policymakers and company leaders alike to act now. After all, there is still time to change course!