What is the IPCC?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body, presented by hundreds of scientists and other experts, that commissions expert reports on the state of the climate. Approximately every seven years the IPCC publishes a new Assessment Report (AR) within its assessment cycle consisting of four parts which are conducted in different Working Groups (WG). WG I is responsible for the first part, the regular assessments of the physical scientific basis of climate change, WG II focuses in part two on the impacts, vulnerability and adaption of the human and natural systems and WG III presents in part three options for mitigation of climate change. The fourth and last part is published within an overarching synthesis report by the IPCC, which is based on the content of the previous three reports and additional Special Reports that fell in the according reporting cycle of the assessment report. Special Reports are characterized by an interdisciplinary assessment of specific issues such as global warming of 1,5°C, climate change and land or ocean and cryosphere.
Even if the IPCC provides objective information about the current status quo of climate change to governments these reports are neutral on policy and are not legally binding. The IPCCs´ ARs are only recommendations for governments and policy makers.
What does the latest IPCC Assessment Report six (AR6) tells us?
The first part of the latest IPCC AR, AR6, was published in August 2021 by WG I, followed by the publications of WG II and WG III in February and April 2022. The findings of the publications are worrying. The atmospheric levels of CO2 are already higher than at any time in at least 2 million years, human-induced global heating resulting in increasingly severe extreme weather events such as heat weaves, heavy rainfalls, tropical cyclones, and droughts, are leading to unprecedented and irreversible changes as well as shifts in climate zones. The temperature over land already warmed 1.59°C or in many high latitude regions even more than 2°C. Also the ocean has warmed up significantly. The sea-level has increased by 0.20 meters in the last 120 years due to thermal expansion, glacier ice- and ice sheet loss and it is accelerating fast. Additionally, any further loss of ice accelerates climate change.
It gets worse with each degree more with which the earth warms up. Temperatures will continue to increase until mid-century under all presented scenarios by the IPCC AR6 and a lot of already happened changes to global sea level, the ocean and ice sheets are irreversible on timescales relevant to hum societies.
For a summarizing overview and conclusion of the findings of AR6 to date have a look at this graphic.
However, besides alarming findings of the latest AR6 the IPCC reports tell us that the door is still open to a very low scenario and therefore avoiding the worst impacts and risks of a hotter planet. Turning down human caused CO2 emissions and take them to net zero by 2050 as well as reducing other GHGs like methane (CH4), the heating can be stabilized at 1,5°C and should therefore be a top priority for policy makers and companies.
What is the current status quo of AR6?
Since the reports of all working groups are already published only the summarizing Synthesis Report, which will be the last of the AR6 products, is missing. The final publication is expected to be finalized in late 2022 or early 2023.
How can DFGE help companies?
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