This week the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the Working Group II’s contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. The full report is 3675 pages long, and the IPCC provides a 37 pages long summary, but the central message is not new: the dangers of climate change are mounting so rapidly that they could soon overwhelm the ability of both nature and humanity to adapt unless greenhouse gas emissions are quickly reduced.
Here are some key snippets we think are worth reading even for those who can’t go through the summary:
- “This report has a strong focus on the interactions among the coupled systems climate, ecosystems (including their biodiversity), and human society. These interactions are the basis of emerging risks from climate change, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss and, at the same time, offer opportunities for the future.”
- “This report identifies 127 key risks. Key risks have potentially severe adverse consequences for humans and social-ecological systems resulting from the interaction of climate related hazards with vulnerabilities of societies and systems exposed.”
- “Impacts of climate change are observed in many ecosystems and human systems worldwide… Climate change has already had diverse adverse impacts on human systems, including on water security and food production, health and well-being, and cities, settlements and infrastructure… Climate change including increases in frequency and intensity of extremes have reduced food and water security, hindering efforts to meet Sustainable Development Goals… Climate change has adversely affected physical health of people globally… Climate and weather extremes are increasingly driving displacement in all regions.”
- “Global warming, reaching 1.5°C in the near-term, would cause unavoidable increases in multiple climate hazards and present multiple risks to ecosystems and humans.”
- “Risks in physical water availability and water-related hazards will continue to increase by the mid-to long-term in all assessed regions, with greater risk at higher global warming levels.”
- “Climate change impacts and risks are becoming increasingly complex and more difficult to manage. Multiple climate hazards will occur simultaneously, and multiple climatic and non-climatic risks will interact, resulting in compounding overall risk and risks cascading across sectors and regions.”
- “Soft limits to some human adaptation have been reached, but can be overcome by addressing a range of constraints, primarily financial, governance, institutional and policy constraints.”
- “…climate resilient development prospects are increasingly limited if current greenhouse gas emissions do not rapidly decline, especially if 1.5°C global warming is exceeded in the near term.”
And if the narrative is not convincing enough for you, check out this Bloomberg article where numbers speak for themselves. Here are a few:
- Up to 3.6 billion people are highly vulnerable to climate change
- Urban land exposed to floods and droughts is projected to increase by 4 or 5 times between 2000 and 2030.
- 420 million hectares of forest lost globally from 1990 to 2020.
- 99% of the world’s coral will be lost if temperature rises 2°C.
- US$128 billion in losses and adaptation to crops with 3°C of warming.
Clearly the situation sounds quite dire, even if the report is not seen as breaking news (people feel they have heard a lot about it by now). As we have said in the past when discussing climate change, if we don’t act soon, it might be too late when we start paying attention. Corporates have a big role to play here given the potential impact they could have, so if you have not yet thought about your climate exposure, we strongly suggest you do soon.
I hope you found this interesting. As usual, if there is anything we can help you with, please reach out.
Partner, Miranda ESG
Contacts at Miranda Partners