The latest IPCC report – we need everyone everywhere to reduce emissions now.

What is the report? 

The IPCC AR6 Synthesis report was published at the end of last month. This is the final piece of the sixth assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC – the body of the world’s leading climate scientists). It is a document that 195 countries have signed off on. 

This report took hundreds of the world’s leading scientists 8 years to complete and pulls together key findings of the preceding reports to give a comprehensive review of global climate knowledge. 

Reading the full report is likely a bit much, we’d recommend saving time and reading the shorter  summary document for policy makers here. Then send it to your local MP – afterall, they are policy makers! 

For a very nice less than 5 minute video summary check this out. Or if you’re really short on time this 30 second video.  You can also watch the Synthesis Report address by Secretary-General António Guterres here. Some notable quotes from the address include: 

“Humanity is on thin ice and that ice is melting fast” 

“Demanding others act first ensures humanity comes last” 

“The climate timebomb is ticking”

“We have never been more equipped to solve the climate challenge but we must move into warp speed climate action now – we don’t have a moment to lose” 

What does it say? 

Ultimately, the warning from the IPCC is that the pace and scale of global action is insufficient to tackle climate change. 

Think about that for a minute. 

The findings show we are not on track to limit warming to 1.5C. The impacts are already here, with more intensive flooding, drought, fires, food and water insecurity, and so much more. Cyclone Gabrielle is an excellent example of this. 

There are some positives noted. The IPCC states that mitigation policies addressing GHG emissions have worked and have reduced emissions BUT overall global GHG emissions have risen. The most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) suggest that the temperature increase will likely exceed the 1.5C threshold and financing is not sufficient to meet climate goals. 

If there’s one takeaway, it’s this: act now or it will be too late. In short, the report concluded that:

  • Human-caused climate change is already wide-spread, rapidly intensifying, and those least responsible are being hit the hardest. 
  • The likelihood of avoiding a 1.5 celsius increase, the threshold beyond which our damage to the climate will rapidly become irreversible, is quickly deteriorating.
  • To have any chance, we need rapid cuts to fossil fuels, more renewables, and energy efficiency. Immediately.
  • Adaptation strategies are a mess – some efforts are resulting in maladaptation – making things worse.

The report has a lot about where we could go:

  • GHG emissions must be cut by 42% by 2030 and we have a  “Rapidly closing window of opportunity”. This is 21 months away but the report makes it clear that this is doable. It says that policies around the world have already resulted in reductions in emissions.
  • We’ve got all the tools we need and reducing emissions will have many co-benefits for the health of our people and planet such as less air pollution.

This is the last report from the IPCC for at least 5 years. When the 7th report comes out closer to 2030 we better not be having the same conversations. 

What can we do? 

The IPCC noted that some changes are already irreversible and, in fact, that the likelihood of abrupt and/or irreversible changes increases with higher global warming levels. We need big, rapid, and sustained GHG reductions to limit the risks of such changes.

This latest IPCC warning is devastating and it can be very easy to become sad or apathetic, but there is still hope and we need hope and community. If we use this warning to move forward, urgently and together. For positive change there must be coordinated action at a grassroots level and with a passion for protecting what we love. 

Whatever goals the world sets, “we don’t get there without love. We can’t get to 1.5c or whatever target we set without love for ourselves, without knowing ourselves, and without connecting to, and caring for one another, our planet, and the universe” Heidi Steltzer, an ecologist and mountain climate researcher in Colorado, who was a lead author of a mountain chapter in the IPCC’s 2019 report on the oceans and cryosphere. 

Join POW as a member now – help build the base of concerned outdoor citizens in NZ and make your voice heard to reduce GHG emissions in Aotearoa

We need global governments to act fast – very fast. So we must elect governments who are willing to do so. You can make that happen. Join us and make a plan to vote for the climate this October. 

  1. Join POW NZ as a member
  2. Speak out
  3. Engage with decision makers
  4. Vote for a government who will act at the speed required

These are unprecedented times, but NZ’s outdoor community is diverse, passionate, inspiring, and over 2 million strong. That’s a lot of voices. If we come together and demand change, we can be hugely influential.

Together, we can protect the things that we love from climate change – for everyone.