The major climate change report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been released a few days ago, at least the first part of it describing the analysis of the sources of global warming, oceans’ rise, and other catastrophes we are already observing today. Around me, many friends and family members did ask me about it, and to summarise it. I looked at many articles and videos, and the video above is a good one to get it in less than 10mn.
Read an abstract of Climate Change 2021 report
For those of you willing to read an abstract about the several thousands of pages of the full report, here are the 2 page highlights and the 40 pages summary created by the IPCC for policy makers to digest it and more importantly take action at the coming COP26 in Glasgow later this year.
In a nutshell here are the major conclusions of this report:
The current state
It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.
Extreme events are increasingly connected to climate (duh! we knew that right? Who was in doubt?), evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence.
Sea level rise is a big deal, take a look at the visual NASA projection tool
The radiative forcing bar chart — historical contribution of sources to global warming (greenhouse gases, aerosols, solar, …) — has gone full circle: CO2 and Methane are the largest contributors by far.
Possible climate futures
Global surface temperature will continue to increase until at least the mid-century under all emissions scenarios considered. Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.
Many changes due to past and future greenhouse gas emissions are irreversible for centuries to millennia, especially changes in the ocean, ice sheets and global sea level. With further global warming, every region is projected to increasingly experience concurrent and multiple changes in climatic impact-drivers.
What can we do? NOW!
From a physical science perspective, limiting human-induced global warming to a specific level requires limiting cumulative CO2 emissions, reaching at least net zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions.
But where to start would be your next question, right? Generally, most people I talk to have a non informed view of what is causing greenhouse gas emission in our behaviours. So let’s look at it from the data and understand what categories of activities should be addressed immediately and big time, using a simple Pareto (70/30 rule):
- Energy Use in Industry (24.2%) – this is primarily for leaders to take action
- Transport (16.2%) starting by road transport: yes you need to change for a clean car and use more of public transport or New Urban mobility (bikes, scooters, wheels), but policy makers must also act here.
- Energy Use in Buildings (17.5%) – change your heating and air cooling for clean ones, make sure your home and office are well isolated – but why the 40 largest cities in the world do not impose now no more construction if not energy neutral or even better positive?
- Agriculture, forestry & land use (18.4%) – reduce drastically beef consumption, but here again there are new ways to invent and enforce about this category.
The sum of this list is 76.3% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the world! This is a solid indication of where to start taking action.
Here is a more detailed view
Call to action for leaders
Leaders, whether business or government leaders, need to take action now:
- Be aware and educate everyone around them – this is what leaders are for!
- Be transparent about where they are in their company, country, region or city – awareness is the only solid start for a change as coaching taught us
- Set Goals and commit to what they will do about it today.
For the rest of us, let’s also educate around us, invest in innovation to address it — like I’m doing with Time for the Planet, and of course lead by example in changing our own behaviour.
- Consumer behaviour to favour companies that are virtuous about climate change and inequalities, hit them at the wallet
- Citizen behaviour to put pressure on our representatives to act upon it FAST without any hidings
If you’ve read that far, it means that you can’t ignore it anymore. Thanks to share and feel free to engage. Happy to help any effort to make this world a better one for our kids, grand-kids and future generations. We only have one planet and there’s no plan B!