The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the UN body responsible for climate science – has published the first of its three-part 6th Assessment Report (AR6). This landmark report comes at a crucial time as world leaders look ahead to the climate conference COP26 in Glasgow in just three months’ time.
The report ‘AR6 Climate Change 2021:The Physical Science Basis’ has been agreed by representatives of 195 governments and aims to provide an evidence base from which governments can develop climate change policies. It highlights that human activity as a cause of climate change is now indisputable and is leading to more frequent and severe weather events affecting every region of the planet. It warns that ‘rapid and sustained reductions’ in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions are needed to limit global warming.
Commenting on the release of the IPCC report, and three months ahead of COP26, Dr Shilpi Srivastava, Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, said:
“This report comes amidst another year of severe heatwaves, droughts, flooding, forest fires and extreme events which are impacting communities across the globe. The findings should serve as a reminder that we need to urgently prioritise support for those who are most disadvantaged and already experiencing the worst impacts of climate change.
“We need transformative climate justice for people across the globe who’ve been marginalised and excluded from decision-making on impacts and interventions. We need to talk about loss and damage for vulnerable communities and must hold governments accountable to deliver programmes that bring meaningful and positive change in the lives of those most affected by climate change.”
“Leaders meeting at COP26 need to listen to science and take decisive actions to keep fossil fuels in the ground. In parallel, they must ensure that policies for adaptation and mitigation, including achieving net zero emissions are just and inclusive. Technical fixes will not take us very far, and can perpetuate the systems of inequity and injustice in the form of displacement and land grabs, something we are already witnessing in the name of ‘green’ solutions.
“Policymakers need to recognise the place-based realities of people living in the planet’s most vulnerable places and ensure that their lived-in experiences, voice and knowledge (s) count in decision making. Our global biodiversity and climate crisis requires action, but action that addresses the root drivers of the crises – poverty, inequity and marginalisation.”
There further two other parts of the IPCC sixth assessment report are due to be published in the coming months, with the next focusing on the Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, and another on the Mitigation of Climate Change.