The latest IPCC report was published on 24 February 2022. It presents an alarming assessment of the global climate situation. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 to present the state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its causes, potential impacts and adaptation strategies. The first report deals with the physical understanding of the climate system and climate change. The second report (out of 3) deals with the impacts, adaptation and vulnerability of human societies and ecosystems to climate change. 

Let’s discover the five key informations to be remembered. 

Information 1: There is a huge communication challenge

“Climate resilient development pathways are trajectories for the pursuit of cli¡mate resilient development and navigating its complexities. Different actors, the private sector, and civil society, influenced by science, local and Indigenous knowledge, and the media are both active and passive in designing and navigating climate resilient development pathways.” says the IPCC report, 2022. 

The media have an  essential role to play in the ecological transition: as long as 24-hour news channels, TV news, etc. do not properly communicate and raise awareness about  climate issues,  civil society will continue to be poorly or not at all informed.

This second IPCC report received very poor media coverage, and in the case of France,no French television station mentioned it on the day it was released. 

The issue of communication also revolves around teaching the younger generations. At the press conference for the release of the latest IPCC report on 9 August 2021, Valérie-Masson Delmotte said: “We would like the whole report to contribute to improving climate knowledge worldwide, to be used in education worldwide for teenagers and students, so that they can acquire the latest and best knowledge available.

Information 2: The current effects of climate change are becoming increasingly evident

“Since the IPCC’s first reports, there is increased  evidence that climate hazards associated with extreme events and variability act as direct drivers of involuntary migration and displacement and as indirect drivers through deteriorating climate-sensitive livelihoods (high confidence).” says the IPCC report, 2022. 

The global temperature has already risen by 1.09°C since the pre-industrial era (since about 1900). The effects of this human-induced climate change are well known, it does not only refers to future impacts because there already are irreversible damage observed. Among them, the increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme events has already caused widespread adverse effects. Heat waves, droughts and floods are exceeding the tolerance thresholds of flora and fauna, causing them to move, or threatening them with extinction. Climate change has resulted in losses and damage to nature and people 

Humans are not spared from these effects. The report states that climate change has already affected the physical and mental health of humans. Millions of people are at risk of acute food and water insecurity. 

Information 3: Adaptations to climate change are increasing

“Awareness and assessment of current and future climate risks has increased worldwide (…). At least 170 countries and many cities have now integrated adaptation into their climate policies and planning processes. Adaptation is considered in the climate policies of at least 170 countries.” IPCC report, 2022

The second part of the IPCC report notes that progress in terms of planned or implemented adaptations has been observed in all regions and sectors generating multiple benefits. Many initiatives prioritize the reduction of immediate and short-term climate risks, which reduces the potential for transformational adaptation.

Information 4: Very high climate inequalities exist

While the first report focused on the physical understanding of climate change, this report focuses on the human impacts and thus integrates the issue of social justice. 

The vulnerability of ecosystems and people to climate change varies considerably between and within regions as a result of intersecting patterns of socio-economic development, unsustainable use of oceans and land, inequality, marginalization, historical and ongoing patterns of inequality such as colonialism, and governance.

The root causes of vulnerability are partly related to political, economic and social contexts, both present and inherited. Equity involves taking into account both current inequalities and legacies, particularly from the colonial period, in order to understand the unequal adaptive capacities of certain states and, more specifically, of certain peoples or territories within these states.

It is established that the more individuals or social groups suffer from exclusion, discrimination, deprivation of access to economic, social and cultural resources, the less capacity they have to adapt. Equity and climate justice therefore require not only the distribution of costs and benefits, but also some form of compensation for these initial inequalities.

Africa epitomizes these climate inequalities. As one of the areas that contributes the least to greenhouse gas emissions, it is bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. For example, agricultural productivity growth has been reduced by 34% since 1961 due to climate change, more than in any other region. As such, the reduction in economic growth has increased inequalities between the continent and the countries of the northern hemisphere.

Information 5: The need for action is urgent

This is not a scoop. And the second part of the IPCC’s sixth report underlines this. The impacts, risks and levels of vulnerability show that it is more urgent than ever to act in favor of climate-resilient development. 

This is possible if all parts of society cooperate. The IPCC report, underlines “the importance of multi-level adaptation governance, including non-state actors from civil society and the private sector”. The private sector has a role to play now more than ever. All companies have a role to play, even the smallest ones. By committing to reforestation, biodiversity protection or zero waste, every company can contribute to a more climate resilient development.

Photo by Nikolay Maslov on Unsplash

Graphic (IPCC report cover) by Environmental Grafiti © 2022 All rights reserved.