Sometimes we have to take it slowly, but this is not the time. The IPCC report is not a gentle meditation.
The Sixth Assessment Report of the .Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released earlier this month underscores and update what the IPCC has stated for many year.
The 42-page “Summary for Policymakers” — the full report is more than 3400 densely-written pages — is more of the same, only more so.
Here are some of the summary’s findings:
- On the “current state” of the climate: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred.” Each of the last four decades” has been successively warmer than any decade that preceded it since 1850. Global surface temperature in the first two decades of the 21st century (2001-2020) was 0.99 [0.84- 1.10] °C higher than 1850-1900.”
- “The scale of recent changes across the climate system as a whole and the present state of many aspects of the climate system are unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years.”
- “Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened since AR5 (the fifth Assessment Report).”
- “Improved knowledge of climate processes, paleoclimate evidence and the response of the climate system to increasing radiative forcing gives a best estimate of equilibrium climate sensitivity of 3°C with a narrower range compared to AR5.”
On “possible climate futures”:
- “Global surface temperature will continue to increase until at least the mid-century under all emissions scenarios considered. Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.”
- “Many changes in the climate system become larger in direct relation to increasing global warming. They include increases in the frequency and intensity of hot extremes, marine heatwaves, and heavy precipitation, agricultural and ecological droughts in some regions, and proportion of intense tropical cyclones, as well as reductions in Arctic sea ice, snow cover and permafrost.”
- “Continued global warming is projected to further intensify the global water cycle,including its variability, global monsoon precipitation and the severity of wet and dry events.”
- “Many changes due to past and future greenhouse gas emissions are irreversible for centuries to millennia, especially changes in the ocean, ice sheets and global sea level.”
- “With further global warming, every region is projected to increasingly experience concurrent and multiple changes in climatic impact-drivers. Changes in several climatic impact-drivers would be more widespread at 2°C compared to 1.5°C global warming and even more widespread and/or pronounced for higher warming levels.”
Even in scenarios with lower GHG emissions, it will take 20 years or more to detect “discernible differences” in global surface temperature trends. In short, this crisis is virtually “irreversible.” Tough stuff indeed. And it seems hopeless.
We want to see with wisdom and clarity what is going on with our planet and accept the facts in front of us. The time to act is now