The IPCC Report & Where That Leaves Us

The IPCC report. A report that sent shockwaves across the world as it was revealed the true extent of the climate crisis. And it wasn’t pretty. It isn’t pretty. It highlighted how desperate our planet is for climate action, even the term ‘desperate’ doesn’t quite cover how badly our planet is suffering.

But where does that leave us you may ask? I haven’t got the definitive answer. But I can simply throw my two pence into the ring. Because climate change is something we can all help with, but ultimately, and put simply, it’s going to take a whole lot more than switching your plastic straw for a metal one…

Before I start, you may be thinking this is a little late to be writing about it. As the news of the report broke a couple of weeks back now. It’s simply because I didn’t want to rush to write something straight away without getting all my facts right first. I’ve been wanting to fully digest the report first. But, as we know, this isn’t some flash trend, this is an ongoing crisis, so a few weeks late to write up a blog post isn’t the biggest issue here!

What is the IPCC report?

Taking the definition straight from their website, ‘the IPCC was created to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change’ by the United Nations. They provide comprehensive, non-biased reports on the ‘scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge’ related to climate change. With 195 member countries forming the IPCC – it outlines the true scale of how the planet is changing and the future effects.

What did the 2021 report reveal?

The report, in simple terms, didn’t paint a very good picture of our climate. The message was very clear in the report, we are running out of time in which climate change can be averted. The IPCC detailed how a serious curb on carbon and a speeding up of ‘Net Zero’ is needed a lot more rapidly than earlier predictions. This is in order to alleviate a global temperature rise of 1.5 °C. Earlier reports specified carbon reduction was needed by 2050; this is now needed by 2040.

They explain how sea levels will continue to rise. Rising above 2m by 2100 and up to 5m by 2150. Meaning low-lying islands and countries could be engulfed. With rainfall another major player constituting towards the crisis.

Methane, a warming gas similar to carbon, was itemized as causing 0.3°C of the 1.1°C that the planet has already warmed to. Methene is a gas that emits from such things as food waste, oil and gas as well as agriculture.

On the whole, it isn’t pretty. But, it forms a solid piece of evidence that our climate is changing, on an accelerated scale. There isn’t time to waste or sweep it under the carpet, meaning as much as it revealed some stark factors, as pointed out above, it’s a report that is very much needed.

Where does that leave us?

Whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic, it’s quite hard to see where it leaves us. On the surface, you could see this report as the end of humanity, with time ticking until the next mass extinction. Or, like me, you can remain optimistic. Hoping (praying) this is the kick up the backside Governments and Corporations need to get their act together. Moving away from planet-destroying fossil fuels, put policies in place to reduce and capture carbon and overall reduce global heating.

I’m trying my best to remain optimistic, because what else can we do? It’s sad to see how much damage society has done to harm the environment. With climate change quite literally in clear sight, with every new wildfire and flood.

We can only remain hopeful for positive change, even if simple hope doesn’t quite feel enough…

Helpful resources to read more:

The Climate Pod: ep – Road to COP26: The IPCC’s New Report
BBC article – ‘Climate Change: Five things we have learned from the IPCC report’
The Low Waste Weekly article – Why is Sustainability so Important?
The Guardian article – ‘What is the IPCC and why is its new climate report different from others?

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