Alarming IPCC Climate Change 2022 Impacts Report

IPCC Sixth Assessment Report released

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its sixth assessment report earlier this week. The report titled, “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” consists of contributions from each of the three IPCC Working Groups and a Synthesis Report, which integrates the Working Group contributions and the Special Reports produced in the cycle. Authored by the world’s top climate scientists, the report provides an assessment of the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and human communities at global and regional levels, their vulnerabilities, adaptation capacities and limits, as well as options for achieving climate-resilient development. The report shows alarming trends and warns about the ever-growing and profound impacts of climate change on our planet. 

“Today’s IPCC report confirms what we already know: the climate crisis is upon us. Its impacts on people and nature across the planet are real and will only intensify in the coming decades. We must heed this warning, and ramp up our action to become more resilient to the changing climate while continuing to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”

Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal

Climate change is affecting nature, human lives, and infrastructure across the entire globe and its dangerous and pervasive impacts are becoming increasingly evident in every region of our planet. All life on Earth – from ecosystems to human civilization – is becoming increasingly vulnerable to a rapidly changing climate. Climate change induced by humanity has already started to impact nature and people with greater intensity and frequency and over a wider geographical area than previously thought. Some examples of impacts highlighted in the latest IPCC report include:

  • An increasing surface of the Earth’s land is being affected by wildfires and tropical cyclones.
  • Many species are shifting their habitats toward the poles or to higher altitudes with first species extinctions driven by climate change already occurring.
  • Climate change is undermining food and water security, agricultural productivity, and both the physical and mental health of people across the globe.

The report indicates that some of these risks will increase inexorably over the next two decades and points out that some of the risks can be reduced if measures to adapt to the impacts are taken immediately.

About the report

The work on the report started in May 2017 at a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during which the first outline of the report was drafted. The draft outlines were approved four months later and the core editorial work began right after. 270 authors from 67 countries have contributed to this comprehensive assessment report while the total number of expert and government review comments received was 62,418.

The full report consists of 18 Chapters and 7 Cross-Chapter Papers providing an assessment of the impacts of climate change on nature and humanity, as well as their capacities and limits for adaptation. In addition to the full report, the IPCC has also released a Summary for Policymakers, which provides a high-level summary of the key findings of the Working Group II Report and a Technical Summary, which provides an extended summary of key findings and serves as a link between the comprehensive assessment of the Working Group II Report and the concise Summary for Policymakers. The full report, as well as the two summaries, are available on the IPPC website.

What has changed since the last IPCC report?

Since the first IPCC reports, the evidence has become stronger: the world is warming and extreme events are increasingly impacting lives across the globe. The extent and magnitude of climate change impacts are greater than estimated in previous assessments. Since the fifth IPCC Assessment Report published in 2014, a wider range of impacts has been attributed to climate change and these impacts are expected to intensify with additional warming.

The 2022 report contains alarming data about the ever-growing impacts of climate change. According to IPCC, the negative trend can still be reduced, within certain limits, if we manage to adapt to the changing conditions. However, it seems that the ongoing efforts worldwide are not enough – the report identifies large gaps between ongoing efforts and adaptation needed to cope with global warming, with the scale of the challenge varying across regions.

A large part of the sixths IPCC report is focused on solutions, emphasizing the importance of fundamental changes that will allow us to conserve, restore, and safeguard nature, and bring us closer to meeting the Paris Agreement and the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The report also highlights that strong and interdependent relationships between climate, nature, and people are fundamental to reaching these goals.

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