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New IPCC Report Highlights Global Climate Impacts

This week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group II, tasked with assessing climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, have released their contribution to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report. The sobering new report, the product of an assessment process with over 1000 authors in the physical and social sciences across the world, details the impacts that climate change is having on human societies and ecosystems. These impacts are wide-ranging and the report provides a global breakdown, by region, of the effects that climate change is having on water scarcity, food production, human health and wellbeing, cities, settlements and infrastructure, and ecosystem structure, range and timing. The report also provides a breakdown of projected impacts from a range of emissions scenarios and warming levels.

The breadth of the impacts assessed ranges from the degradation of ecosystems caused by the changing climate and the direct impacts of extreme events on food and water security, to the impact on mental health from trauma associated with extreme events and the loss of livelihoods and culture that climate change has brought. Despite the breadth of these impacts, they are bound together by a single thread – climate change that is the result of human-induced greenhouse gas increases, impacts every region, and affects the most vulnerable, and least responsible, most of all. It’s a story that we’re collectively writing, in which the actions that we take today influence the climate that we will live in in the coming years. This underscores the need to rapidly reduce human greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that are already occurring.

The Summary for Policy Makers for the report ends with, “The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal: Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”

Read the report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.