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Latest IPCC Report on Climate Change

On August 9th 2021,  the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a major report on the physical changes to the climate that have already occurred and are projected to occur as a result of human activity. This is an update on their previous assessment which was published in 2013.

Five key messages from the report

  1. We are set to pass 1.5oC warming by 2040
    • All the scenarios outlined in the IPCC Report, indicate that the earth’s surface warming is projected to reach 1.5oC in the next two decades. This threshold has come closer because of the availability of new data, particularly on the fast-warming Arctic.
  2. Human activity is driving extreme weather 
    • There is now “high confidence” that human activities are the main drivers of more frequent or intense heatwaves, glaciers melting, ocean warming, and acidification.
  3. We know more about regional climate impacts   
    • Climate modelling, which has improved since the last IPCC Report, shows that the Arctic is warming faster than other regions. As a result, high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere are projected to warm by up to four times the level of global warming. The Gulf Stream is very likely to weaken over the remainder of this century.
  4. We are closer to irreversible tipping points 
    • The probability of low-likelihood, high impact outcomes increases with higher global warming levels. Abrupt tipping points such as forest dieback and increased Antarctic ice sheet melt cannot be ruled out.
  5. Methane emissions are important 
    • Methane (CH4), which is released into the atmosphere from abandoned coal mines, farming, and oil and gas operations, has a global warming impact 84 times higher than COover a 20 year period. It is responsible for almost a quarter of global warming but it is not included in countries’ climate pledges.

This page provides a very brief outline of five key messages from the report. For a little more information you can download our notes highlighting a few key points from the IPCC report

Those with interested in more details, including the evidence that supports the conclusions and forecasts in the report, can also download and read the authoritative version of the report by following this link AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis and at the bottom of the same web page you can download a press release and two presentations released with the reports.

The IPCC is currently drafting two other major reports: