Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

New IPCC report: ‘we are not prepared for what is coming’

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 1 March 2022

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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In the most comprehensive assessment of climate impacts yet, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group II report has delivered its latest scientific assessment to world governments.

Focusing on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, the report lays out, in sobering detail, how severe the impacts of climate change already are, causing widespread losses and damages to people and ecosystems around the world, projected to escalate with every bit of further warming.

Extreme weather

Since the previous assessment, climate risks are appearing faster and will get more severe sooner.

The IPCC finds that mortality from floods, drought and storms was a staggering 15 times higher in highly vulnerable regions during the last decade, compared with regions with very low vulnerability.

‘The report makes very painful reading. But only by facing these facts head on, with brutal honesty, can we find solutions that match the scale of the interconnected challenges.

‘It’s all hands on deck now! We need to do everything faster and bolder, at all levels, and leave no one behind. The rights and needs of those in most vulnerable conditions must be placed at the heart and centre of climate action. This is the moment to rise up, think big and unite.’

KAISA KOSONEN
Senior policy advisor, Greenpeace Nordic

The climate and nature crises

The report also acknowledges the crucial importance of fighting the interconnected climate and nature crisis together.

Only by protecting and restoring ecosystems can we build their resilience towards warming, and protect all their services human well-being depends on.

‘Climate change isn’t just a timebomb we’re setting for future generations, it can be documented right now in the lives and livelihoods lost and in irreparable damage caused to our natural world. Industrialised nations owe the means to take real action to those communities already staring down the barrel of this crisis.

‘The UK government must use the rest of our year as COP President to push the global community to answer the call for action this report is sounding. It’s time to stop and reverse deforestation and commit to protecting 30% of our oceans by 2030. We have to accelerate renewable energy and plough forward with energy efficiency measures. And we must reduce meat and dairy consumption in high-consuming countries like the UK. It also means recognition and financial support for the loss and damage already being faced by so many communities on the front line of the climate crisis.’

KATE BLAGOJEVIC
Head of climate at Greenpeace UK

Defining climate politics

The report will define climate politics, whether leaders want it or not. Last year in Glasgow at the UN climate summit, governments admitted they’re not doing nearly enough to meet the Paris Climate Agreement 1.5°C warming limit, agreeing to revisit their national targets by the end of 2022.

The next climate summit, COP27 in Egypt later this year, is where countries will have to also address today’s updated IPCC findings on the growing gap on adaptation, on loss and damage, and deep injustices.

‘For many, the climate emergency is already a matter of life or death, as homes and futures are on the line. This is the lived reality of the communities of Mdantsane that have lost loved ones and their life possessions and for the residents of Qwa qwa unable to access vital health services or school as a result of extreme weather. But we will fight this together. We will go out on the streets, we will go to court, united for justice and we will hold to account those whose actions have disproportionately damaged our planet. They broke it, now they have to fix it.’

THANDILE CHINYAVANHU
Climate and energy campaigner, Greenpeace Africa

The Working Group II contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment will be followed by the contribution of the Working Group III in April, which will assess ways to mitigate climate change.

The full story of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report will then be brought together by the Synthesis Report in October.

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