By Stephan Singer, Senior Climate Science and Global Energy Policy Advisor, CAN
July 26, 2021: The official global scientific body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), starts its first ever virtual approval process on the first report (Working Group 1) as part of the Sixth Assessment cycle (AR6).
Over the next 10 days, governments will negotiate the 40-page Summary for Policymakers (SPM) which includes conclusions from the Working Group I report on the most recent and published peer reviewed atmospheric science and the physical basis for climate change.
By approving and accepting the most recent and comprehensive scientific findings as summarised in the SPM, the report will be endorsed by governments and published on 9 August.
This report, dealing with the physical basis of climate change, will include globally observed record global warming compared to earlier millennia or longer caused primarily by the prevailing very high carbon dioxide emissions from the use of fossil fuels.
It will also refer to the long-time observed exponential growth of marine acidification from carbon dioxide pollution, sea level rise caused by the rapid melting of the polar ice sheets from sea and atmospheric warming.
The SPM will also deal with the future trends of these and other physical developments on the planet based on a set of few scenarios, differing according to the level of future emissions of human-induced greenhouse gases and the resulting temperature responses.
This report will not look into real or future impacts of climate change on human communities and activities like agriculture or on the threat to biodiversity. It will also not weigh in on the large clean technical potentials to avoid a climate catastrophe by not overstepping the survival target of 1.5° C global warming in this century. This will be done by two subsequent reports in 2022.
However, this forthcoming report will be a fundamental basis for a series of high level international meetings later this year, not least the UN climate summit in Glasgow, COP26, in early November.
Climate Action Network calls on all governments to accept the rigour of the science and to avoid accepting dilution or compromises on the real scientific facts often pushed by certain governments with strong fossil fuel interests, such as Saudi Arabia.
One cannot negotiate with nature and facts. Fullstop.
CAN urges governments to approve a globally valid text that demonstrates the seriousness of the climate crisis. Even at 1.2C we see year on year, as we have just witnessed recently, unprecedented floods in Germany, China, India and escalating forest fires in California and Siberia.
The urgency to act early and radically by the large climate polluters, particularly by reducing fossil fuels by 2030 of up to 50% to be able to meet the 1.5° survival target, must be implicated in the text.With accepting the scientific facts and the urgency for action comes the political implementation. Governments, in particular the large polluters, must reaffirm that they will move to renewables speedily, halt deforestation and support developing countries to transition to clean energy systems and to build higher resilience to climate change impacts.
Every ton of CO2 is one too much, every percentile of a degree C° increase in temperature is a matter of life and death.