IPCC Releases Climate Report
By: Sydney Sheffield
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, IPCC Working Group I report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, was recently published and details a grim outlook of the current state of the climate. The scientists reported changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system.
IPCC is the United Nation (UN) body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide political leaders with periodic scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications, and risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. In the same year, the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by the WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC.
"This report reflects extraordinary efforts under exceptional circumstances," said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. "The innovations in this report, and advances in climate science that it reflects, provide an invaluable input into climate negotiations and decision-making."
The report’s findings shocked many, with the United Nations considering it a “code red for humanity.” The report is the first of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, which will be finished in 2022. Internationally, it is accepted that an increase of 1.5°C is the threshold. The report provides assessments of the chances of crossing the global warming level of 1.5°C in the next decades and finds that unless there are immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be unable to be accomplished.
The report addresses our physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, using the latest scientific advances and evidence from paleoclimate, observations, process understanding, global and regional climate simulations. This report also details how human influence has affected the climate over time.
“This report is a reality check,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte. “We now have a much clearer picture of the past, present, and future climate, which is essential for understanding where we are headed, what can be done, and how we can prepare.”
This report was originally set to be released in April 2021, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the report was delayed. There are 234 authors of the report from 66 countries, using over 14,000 references and over 78,000 expert and government review comments.
Check out the full report here.