Reflections on the recent IPCC report on climate change

March 21, 2023

Like many others, I have been reading and processing the recently released Sixth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It is a sobering account of the effects of climate change and the pathway we are headed towards.

It is clear we must take action now. We have around seven years to make necessary changes.

Here are a few important takeaways and brief analysis from our perspective:

  • The report shows how with every incremental increase in temperature from 1.5 up to 4°C, all earth systems are significantly and severely affected, from species loss, human mortality due to heat, less food, sea levels rising, and crop yields, etc. This will have a profound effect on food security, biodiversity, human migration and connected humanitarian and political crises, human rights and human health and longevity in the future. Page 16. 
  • The report highlights how these adverse effects are appearing at lower rates of temperature increases than previously predicted. Page 15-17.
  • We can mitigate the most adverse impacts of climates with action now and in the near future by reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Page 19.
  • Pathways that lead to positive outcomes show the interdependency of environmental and social equality outcomes, e.g. low emissions, system transformation, equity, justice, achieving the SDGs, etc. The social and equity aspects of climate change are often overlooked and we need to be using an intersectional lens in climate work. See the useful visual depicting different pathways and elements that lead to healthier outcomes for us all. Page 26.
  • A helpful chart on key actions taken and the amount of emissions saved (check out the visual and text on page 27-29). This helps to identify some priority actions to be mobilizing our governments, companies, communities, and families around.
  • Happy to see the report highlights the importance of equity, social justice, climate justice, rights-based approaches, and the role that intersectional discriminations, based on gender, class, ethnicity, disability, age, etc., and historical inequalities based on colonialism and Indigenous peoples play in increasing risks to climate change impacts and increased vulnerability. Would love to see more focus on the importance of this in financing for climate change and justice work as well. Page 33-34.
  • Love that the report underscores the role of Indigenous, local, and scientific knowledge together in order to develop climate-resilient policies and solutions. Focusing on local knowledge of affected communities and Indigenous voices, and those that are most often left out, but most deeply affected, is a central part of effective climate justice and innovation work.
  • We need more funding and greater access to capital for emission reductions, climate change, equity, SDG and climate justice work, and technological innovations. Page 35-36.

The report contains so many rich data points to use to help us strategize, advocate, and implement for change.

What was your take on the report? What stood out to you and how does it connect with what you are working on?

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