IPCC Call to Action: Summary of Key Messages

IPCC Call to Action: 
Summary of Key Messages

The last installment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) sixth assessment report, released on 20 March 2023, is unequivocal in its message – the current pace and scale of climate action are insufficient to tackle climate change – issuing a ‘final warning’ before global warming exceeds 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.

The report, which is a synthesis of six earlier reports, presents the data in a simplified format to provide practical guidance to policy makers on the key issues, projections and opportunities for action and mitigation.

The report presents the findings in three sections: Current Status and Trends; Future Climate Change, Risks, and Long-Term Responses; and, Responses in the Near Term

The overarching messages are clear:

  • The future health of our planet and all life is at risk

  • Rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse gases need to happen now

  • We need to act collectively to solve the problem, and

  • The solution needs to be fair to all.

The key messages are:
  • Human activities, principally through emissions of greenhouse gases, have unequivocally caused global warming

  • “Deep, rapid and sustained” reductions are needed, in some cases, immediately, in order to ensure a liveable and sustainable future for all

  • Vulnerable communities are disproportionately impacted – having contributed less to create the problem, but being most at risk from the impacts

    • The biggest impacts are in parts of Africa, Asia, Central/South America, LDCs (Least Developed Countries), Small Islands, Arctic

    • People in highly vulnerable areas up to 15x more likely to die in floods, droughts, storms (compared to those in in most resilient areas)

  • Continued greenhouse gas emissions will lead to increasing global warming, with the best estimate of reaching 1.5°C in the near term in considered scenarios and modelled pathways

    • The adverse impacts from human-caused change will intensify

      • Increased water scarcity and impacts to food production, agriculture and aquaculture, including acute food insecurity and reduced water security

      • Impacts to health and wellbeing including diseases, mental health impacts, displacement, and current adaptation options will become less effective and constrained

      • Impacts of extreme weather events on cities, settlements, infrastructure and economies due to fire, flood, wind, storm damage

      • Impacts to ecosystem structures, species range shifts and changes in timing along with reduced capacity to adapt as temperatures increase

    • Extremes will become more widespread and pronounced with every increment of warming

      • The likelihood of abrupt and /or irreversible changes increases with higher global warming levels

      • Limiting human-caused global warming requires next zero CO2 emissions

      • Even if we start reducing now, there is likely to be overshoot beyond 1.5°C, requiring the attainment of negative emissions in the future to reduce temperatures

      • Some damage will be irreversible

  • What is needed?

  • Equity & Fairness: Prioritising equity, climate justice, social justice, inclusion and just transition processes can enable adaptation and ambitious mitigation actions and climate resilient development.

    • Recognising that those who contributed least to climate change are most vulnerable to its impacts

    • Developing countries require external funding to meet adaptation needs

  • Increased financing for climate action

    • 3-6 times the current climate investment is needed to achieve climate goals

    • There is enough global financing to rapidly reduce emissions

    • Options are available to scale up financing

  • Rapid and far-reaching transitions across all sectors and systems

    • Necessary to achieve deep and sustained emissions reductions

    • Feasible, effective and low-cost options for mitigation and adaptation are already available

  • Climate-resilient development

    • Integrating measures to adapt to climate change with actions to reduce emissions in ways that provide wider benefits:

    • Many options are available for reducing emission-intensive consumption, including through behavioural and lifestyle changes, with co-benefits for societal well-being

  • Finance, technology and international cooperation are critical enablers for accelerated climate action

    • Political commitment

    • Inclusive governance

    • International cooperation

    • Effective eco-system stewardship

    • Sharing of diverse knowledge


What comes through loudly is that in order to solve this problem, we need to shift our thinking – solving global warming cannot be achieved without collaboration, equity, trust, a fairer distribution of the earth’s resources and wealth, and collective commitment to change – globally.  We are being called to take responsibility, to take action and to create a livable (not better, just ‘livable’) world for future generations, regardless of the short-term financial and lifestyle impacts for our generation.

undefined https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/

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