Climate change is a disaster for millions of people right now and is likely to trigger ever more devastating consequences in the near future unless urgent action is taken. Scientists have been saying this for a very long time and today’s IPCC report is just the latest to scream DO SOMETHING – AND FAST to the world.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) regularly produces what most regard as the gold standard of evidence-based reporting on climate change. Hundreds of scientists from nearly 70 countries contributed to the new Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability report out today. Which states that “climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, despite efforts to reduce the risks”.
“This report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. “It shows that 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.”
Heatwaves, droughts, and floods are increasing, destroying nature and causing chronic food and water shortages. To combat runaway biodiversity loss, further deaths, and the destruction of critical infrastructure, the report calls for immediate actions that can support adaptation efforts, and policies that cut emissions. It also outlines how nature can help contribute and improve people’s lives.
IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair, Hans-Otto Pörtner said: “By restoring degraded ecosystems and effectively and equitably conserving 30 to 50 per cent of Earth’s land, freshwater and ocean habitats, society can benefit from nature’s capacity to absorb and store carbon, and we can accelerate progress towards sustainable development, but adequate finance and political support are essential.”
Harnessing indigenous knowledge, alongside scientific and technological capabilities is also key.
“By bringing together scientific and technological know-how as well as Indigenous and local knowledge, solutions will be more effective,” added IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair Debra Roberts. “Failure to achieve climate resilient and sustainable development will result in a sub-optimal future for people and nature.”
A future that will soon become reality without immediate action.
“The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and the health of the planet. Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future,” said Pörtner.