Earlier this month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC) released their sixth assessment report addressing the physical science basis for climate change. You have probably heard about this report from many different news outlets, fellow activists, and the occasional meme, but what does this report say about climate, and what can we do about it?
All reports since 1988
First, let’s talk about who created this report. The IPCC is an organization of governments that are members of the United Nations or the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) that was established in 1988. The IPCC currently has 195 governments that are interested in the state of the climate and its human origins. These reports comprise a collection of data reviewed by each government and create a definitive place to go for an up-to-date comprehensive report about climate change.
What is in the report?
Current State of the Climate
One highlight from this report is the language change from the previous reports regarding human’s direct effect on climate change. Instead of using cautious language like “high confidence,” they are now saying that It is beyond scientific doubt that humans have caused the warming of the climate through the emission of greenhouse gases of different kinds. Historically, this is unparalleled and has led to heatwaves, droughts, glacial retreats, snow and permafrost melt, and more extreme precipitation events in all parts of the world.
Yes… all parts of the world, meaning there is no place free of these impacts.
Here in Utah, we have seen one of the most extreme droughts in recent history, alarming air quality days, and worries about this year’s upcoming snowfall.
Sadly we are not alone. Much of the U.S and world are all facing climate related issues in one way or another. These issues are not equal and many areas are being hit harder than others.
Possible Climate Futures.
This report shows that no matter what, temperature will continue to rise throughout the century, and it just depends on what we do now that will determine how much these rises will be and their harm to our way of life. This report makes it clear that there is a big difference between the rises of any degree. The expected impacts only get worse as degrees get higher.
If you are interested in seeing predictions of your region, check out this interactive map.
Limiting Future Climate Change
Getting to net-zero emissions soon, and then eventually anthropogenic removal of CO2 will limit temperature increases, though some processes will not be reversible for centuries. What we do in the coming decades matters immensely for the future centuries.
Our team here at HEAL will use this report as a resource when crafting upcoming policies to help Utah fight environmental threats. Sign up for our emails to receive action alerts regarding specific bills and follow us on our social media to get the latest updates.