IPCC 6th Report 2021: Code Red for Humanity

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IPCC 6th Report 2021: Code Red for Humanity

What is the IPCC

  • Established in 1988, the IPCC is the UN body for assessing the science on climate change. It is made up of the world’s leading climate experts.

What is the 6th Report?

  • The report addresses the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science, and combining multiple lines of evidence from paleoclimate, observations, process understanding, and global and regional climate simulations.
  • The report is the most recent in 8 years
  • 234 scientists contributed and summed up the research in 14,000 research papers
  • Two further instalments on the impacts of the climate crisis and on ways of reducing those impacts, will follow next year.

It provides irrefutable evidence that the Climate Crisis was human induced, and that we are now in a fully blown Climate Emergency.

“The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) states that it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land, and that this warming will continue as we keep emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere”

Main Takeaways:

The Climate Crisis has Begun:

  • It is “virtually certain” that hot extremes including heatwaves have become more frequent and more intense since the 1950s, while cold events have become less frequent and less severe.
  • Human influence is “very likely” (90%) the main driver of the global retreat of glaciers since the 1990s and the decrease in Arctic sea-ice.
  • By 1950 Arctic seas to be ice-free by summertime
  • Our carbon budget runs out in 5 years to stay below the 1.5°C threshold

It’s Hotting Up

  • Earth is projected to hit 1.5°C of warming by 2030- a decade earlier than thought
  • The past five years have been the hottest on record since 1850
  • Earth is warmer than it’s been in 125,000 years
  • Recent atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are the highest they’ve been in the last 2 million years.

Sea Level Rising

  • oceans have already risen by 20cm since 1900
  • The recent rate of sea level rise has nearly tripled compared with 1901-1971
  • scientists can’t rule out a 2m rise (worst-case scenario) by the end of the century, meaning entire nations will be submerged.

Methane Levels All Time High

  • methane emissions largely come from agriculture (livestock and manure), waste disposal and fossil fuel production
  • Methane levels are their highest in at least 800,000 years.

Earth’s Natural Protections are Reaching their Limit

  • Since 1960, forests, soil and oceans have absorbed 565 of all CO2 released by humanity.
  • These natural carbon sinks are losing their ability to soak up our carbon.

Reason for Hope?

“Immediate, rapid, and large scale cuts” to greenhouse gas emissions could still help to stabilise global temperatures around 1.5°C threshold.

“If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. I count on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure COP26 is a success.” — Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General


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