Every handful of years, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases a latest report outlining the state of our world. It looks at air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and overall climate change and global warming. It uses this report back to make recommendations to policymakers that’ll help us slow and eventually reverse global warming and climate change.
In 2023, the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report hit the press release cycle and outlined all the great and bad happening with the environment because the last report. So, what did the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report say? Proceed reading for a full evaluation of the report.
What Does the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report Say?
The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) outlined many topics coping with climate change and global warming and the way these can impact our world and the species occupying it. It covered a spread of topics, but some key takeaways are as follows.
Substantial and Increasingly Irreversible Damage
The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report recognizes that damage from climate change just isn’t something which will occur in the longer term. It’s happening now. The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report states with high confidence that climate change and global warming have already led to “substantial damages, and increasingly irreversible losses, in terrestrial, freshwater and coastal and open ocean marine ecosystems.”
Mass Extinctions Are Likely
The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report also touched on how climate change and global warming can impact biodiversity — the number of various species living on our planet. In line with the report, it’s likely that the share of species — terrestrial and freshwater — at a really high risk of extinction will grow as global temperatures rise. Terrestrial species could experience 3% to 14% extinction if global temperatures increase by 1.5 degrees Celsius. At 4 degrees Celsius, we could lose roughly 50% of all tropical marine species to extinction.
Humans Are at Risk too
In line with the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, humans are also in danger from global warming and climate change. The report states that 3.3 billion to three.6 billion people live in areas that it considers “highly vulnerable” to climate change. This will include places like low-lying coastlines subject to flooding attributable to rising sea levels or areas liable to extreme weather enhanced by climate change.
That is making a humanitarian crisis that’s driving displacement, particularly in small island states.
Increased Food and Water Insecurities
The intense weather and climate events climate change is fueling have exposed hundreds of thousands to acute food and water insecurities. That is most blatant in sections of Africa, Asia, Central and South America, small islands, and the Arctic. It has also most heavily impacted low-income households and indigenous people worldwide.
Further compounding this issue, the report states climate change will put increasing pressure on food production and access in vulnerable areas.
Overall Health and Wellness to Decline
Finally, the report states that climate change and extreme weather events will increase poor health and premature deaths within the near and long run.
When was the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report Released?
The AR6 report got here in stages from three Working Groups — individuals inside IPCC working on specific solutions:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a United Nations (UN) body answerable for assessing the science related to climate change — is answerable for releasing the IPCC Assessment Reports, which is a longer report that mixes the three IPCC Working Group contributions, every six or seven years. The IPCC released the synthesis report for the sixth time on March 20, 2023, in Interlaken, Switzerland.
What Is the Key Message from the Sixth Assessment of the IPCC Report back to Keep to the Paris Agreement Goal?
The AR6 synthesis report focuses on a serious issue with keeping to the Paris Agreement goals: adaptation. The Paris Agreement includes a worldwide goal of adaptation. While adaptation is critical, the goal outlined within the Paris Agreement is vague.
The IPCC’s special report states that a key issue is that specifying adaptation goals is harder than climate change mitigation. It mentions that adaptation can cover a wide selection of activities, and the success of adaptation depends strongly on the context. So, the report identifies three metrics by which to evaluate adaptation: effectiveness, feasibility, and justice.
Let’s review how the IPCC identifies these metrics:
- Effectiveness: That is the extent to which a climate motion reduces climate risk but may include economic advantages and wider social well-being.
- Feasibility: This measures how possible and desirable an adaptation is and accounts for barriers, enablers, synergies, and trade-offs.
- Justice: This, in line with the IPCC, can break down into three several types of climate justice, including distributive justice, procedural justice, and recognition.
What Is the Difference Between IPCC AR5 and AR6?
The foremost difference between the Fifth Assessment Report and the Sixth Assessment Report is the addition of a latest lower scenario that shows the impacts of strong climate and air pollution mitigation. Dubbed SSP1-1.9, this scenario considers the impacts of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions within the 2050s, which is one major motion required within the Paris Agreement. On this latest scenario, the IPCC finds the ocean temperatures would rise by only 0.25 degrees Celsius and the atmosphere by 1 degree Celsius.
What Is the Climate Change Projection for 2023?
The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report projects the annual mean global near-surface temperature will range from 1.1 to 1.8 degrees Celsius higher than the 1850 to 1900 average. Nevertheless, it notes only a 32% likelihood this exceeds the 1.5 degrees C threshold set by the Paris Agreement. While which will appear to be a comparatively low percentage, take note that that is up from only a 10% likelihood predicted between 2017 and 2021.
How Long Until Climate Change Is Irreversible?
In its summary for policymakers, the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report clearly lays out that some climate change could also be long-lasting and even irreversible. Nevertheless, not the entire impacts are irreversible — yet.
On a broader scope, climate scientists consider we have now roughly 11 years to speed up greenhouse gas emissions (GHG emissions) reductions to avoid climate change‘s worst damages.
Can Global Warming Be Reversed?
Many experts consider we will reverse global warming. In line with experts, if we will get to a degree where greenhouse gases within the atmosphere are in decline, which is named drawdown, we will reverse global warming before 2050. Nevertheless, achieving it will require aggressive, absolute adoption of climate actions, and various human activities focused on helping the environment.
What Are 3 Major Conclusions of the IPCC?
The IPCC reached many conclusions in the Sixth Assessment Report, but some stood out greater than others. Let’s review the three major conclusions from the sixth assessment cycle.
We Must Shift Away From Fossil Fuels
We’ve known for a while that we must move away from fossil fuels. From coal-fired power plants to internal-combustion engines, we want to wean ourselves off these because they’re the number-one reason behind the climate crisis.
To limit global warming below the 1.5 degrees Celsius agreed upon within the Paris Agreement, we must limit our emissions to only 510 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtCO2) by the 2050s. Nevertheless, the expected CO2 emissions from existing and planned fossil-fuel infrastructures already exceed that by 340 GtCO2.
To succeed in this, we must work on retiring fossil fuel infrastructures, canceling or modifying planned fossil fuel infrastructures, and fitting fossil-fuel power plants with carbon capture and storage systems.
Adaptation Requires More Funding
It’s no mystery that combating climate change requires funding, particularly adaptation. In line with the IPCC, developing countries require $127 billion annually by 2030 and $295 billion annually by 2050 to adapt to climate change. Nevertheless, the funds for adaptation reached only $23 billion to $46 billion from 2017 to 2018. This pace is just too slow, and requires more attention to satisfy the difference goals outlined within the Paris Agreement.
Impacts of Climate Change on People and Ecosystems Is Worse Than Expected
The ultimate key finding within the AR6 is that climate impacts are already more far-reaching and extreme than anticipated. Roughly 50% of the world’s population suffers severe water insecurity for a minimum of a month per 12 months, and rising temperatures are aiding the spread of vector-borne diseases — those spread between animals by blood-feeding arthropods, resembling malaria.
Climate change has also slowed agriculture in middle and low latitudes, including shrinking African crop growth by a 3rd since 1961.
Also, the report found that even limiting global warming to only 1.5 degrees C just isn’t protected for everybody. At this temperature increase, 950 million occupants on the planet’s drylands will experience water stress, heat stress, and desertification. Also, this temperature increase would expose 24% more of the worldwide population to flooding.
The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report Uncovered Many Issues, But There’s Still Hope
Fighting global warming and a changing climate is a struggle, as climate scientists and proponents of reducing GHG emissions work hard to get global adoption of climate actions. And the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report shows just how those struggles have kept us from reaching the goals outlined within the Paris Agreement. Fortunately, as experts have laid out, there’s still time to cut back our emissions and reverse climate change before we do serious irreversible damage.
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