IPCC Report Simplified

By Naina Gautam March 23, 2023

While coming out with a “how to guide to defuse the climate time- bomb”, the IPCC has as usual begun with employing difficult-to-understand climate language

IPCC Report Simplified
The IPCC has called for increase in finance to deal with climate change. It also emphasises that developing countries require funding to have their adaptation needs met . DepositPhotos

The Synthesis Report Of The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is in keeping with its long winded title. The language is technical and the contents difficult for a layperson to understand for a “how-to guide to defuse the climate time-bomb”, as referred to by United Nations Secretary General Antonia Guterres. Covering Climate Now (CCNow), a global initiative to advance coverage of climate change worldwide, has attempted to demystify the contents of the report.

The report notes that those who made the least contribution are paying more in proportion to the effects suffered due to climate change. Climate justice issue is also brought to fore. In highly vulnerable areas, the risk of death increases by up to 15 times in contrast to a person in a resilient area. The report says, “Increasing weather and climate extreme events have exposed millions of people to acute food insecurity and reduced water security, with the largest adverse impacts observed in many locations and/or communities in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, LDCs, Small Islands and the Arctic, and globally for Indigenous Peoples, small-scale food producers and low-income households.”

CCNow simplifies it as, “People are starving, now, because of climate change, especially in poor countries throughout the Global South.”

There is availability of options and global financing to reduce greenhouse emissions.  However, emissions should be slashed quickly by nearly half by 2030, according to the IPCC.  The report adds, “Deep, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions would lead to a discernible slowdown in global warming within around two decades….”

CCNow translates it as, “Global temperatures will stop rising if we slash heat-trapping emissions, starting now.”

The IPCC has called for increase in finance to deal with climate change. It also emphasises that developing countries require funding to have their adaptation needs met. There should be an increase of 3-6 times in “the current climate investment”. It says the way forward is clear. There is presence of already tested options, scaling up and applying it widely and tailoring it for various contexts. The report says, “The adoption of low-emission technologies lags in most developing countries, particularly least developed ones…. If climate goals are to be achieved, both adaptation and mitigation financing would need to increase many-fold. There is sufficient global capital to close the global investment gaps but there are barriers to redirect capital to climate action.”

CCNow simplifies it as, “The world has plenty of money to tackle this problem, but Global North countries and institutions must finally fulfil their legal obligation to provide $100 billion in annual climate aid — and much more than that going forward.”

With even a small increase in warming, extremes will be more frequent. The ill impacts from anthropogenic change will increase the intensity related to health and wellbeing, water scarcity and food production, cities, settlements and infrastructure, says the IPCC.  The report adds, “If warming exceeds a specified level such as 1.5°C, it could gradually be reduced again by achieving and sustaining net negative global CO2 emissions. This would require additional deployment of carbon dioxide removal .… Overshoot entails adverse impacts, some irreversible, and additional risks for human and natural systems, all growing with the magnitude and duration of overshoot.”

CCNow translates it as, “Because humanity didn’t act sooner, carbon dioxide removal will be necessary to keep future temperature rise as close to 1.5 degrees C as possible. But every fraction of a degree boosts the risks of catastrophic and irrevocable impacts.”

Discussing climate-resilient development, the IPCC also lays down the factors that can determine effective climate actions. Some of them being political commitment, inclusive governance, cooperation at international level, ecosystem stewardship and diverse knowledge being shared. The report notes, “Ambitious mitigation pathways imply large and sometimes disruptive changes in existing economic structures….”

CCNow simplifies it as, “Climate survival requires swiftly phasing out all oil, gas, and coal burning. But the business plans of ExxonMobil and other companies call for continuing fossil fuel production for decades to come. Journalists can bring heft to their coverage by asking these companies how they square those business plans with this latest summary of climate science, which Secretary-General Guterres hails as “a how-to guide to defuse the climate time bomb.”