New IPCC report paints harsh reality of unavoidable climate impacts and loss and damage

28 February 2022

This report must urgently galvanise political will, particularly from rich countries, to substantially scale up finance for adaptation and agree to a separate finance facility to address loss and damage, at COP27 this year.

28 February 2022: Today the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the second report under the Sixth Assessment Cycle (AR6) which looks at climate impacts, adaptation and vulnerability.
The summary report, collectively approved by governments over the weekend, lays out in sobering detail how human-induced climate change, from a dangerous dependence on fossil fuels, is contributing to poverty, physical and mental health challenges, food and water insecurity, species extinction, and loss and damage globally.

Crucially, this new assessment shows that the extent and magnitude of climate change impacts are larger than previously estimated under the last IPCC assessment in 2014. Without urgent measures to limit global warming to 1.5°C, adaptation to climate change will become costlier, inefficient and in some cases simply impossible resulting in loss and damage.

Some populations and places are already experiencing the limits to adaptation. In some cases, the hard limits to adaptation will be reached even before temperatures exceed 1.5°C.

This report must urgently galvanise political will across the world, particularly in rich countries, to substantially scale up finance for adaptation and agree to a separate finance facility to address loss and damage at COP27, being held in Africa, one of the most vulnerable regions in the world. 

Furthermore, as Russia continues its merciless war on Ukraine, it has sharpened the focus on the role of fossil fuels in fuelling war and geopolitical insecurity along with its role in the climate crisis. This crisis has also shown that resources can be mobilised overnight for war. We need political leaders to use the same will and urgency towards achieving peace and justice across the world, especially climate justice for all. 

Harjeet Singh, Senior Adviser, Climate Action Network International
“This IPCC report holds up a mirror to the current reality of climate change and its impacts on people and the planet. The science is now conclusive – and governments have endorsed this – we are in the era of unavoidable climate disasters causing loss and damage.
“Every fraction of a degree of warming will cause compounding and cascading climate impacts that hover dangerously close to the limits of adaptation, causing irreversible degradation of ecosystems and profound human suffering.”
“The report makes it clear that there is inadequate financial, governance and institutional support for adaptation and for addressing loss and damage. Rich countries must scale up funding to enable developing countries to prepare for unavoidable climate impacts. They must take concrete steps to set up a finance facility for loss and damage at the COP27 climate conference in Egypt later this year.”

Stephan Singer, Senior Adviser, Climate Action Network International
“The negotiated report, accepted by all governments, should be the bedrock for all actions on adapting to climate change and to accelerate deep reductions in carbon pollution, particularly from fossil fuels.  This IPCC report shows the danger of irreversible damages to ecosystems and vulnerable people if the world fails to stay on a 1.5°C pathway. In particular, public and private financing for climate-resilient development must be substantially scaled up particularly by richer nations to support poorer countries, and threatened ecosystems.”

Dr. Rachel Cleetus, Policy Director and Lead Economist, Union of Concerned Scientists:
“Today, governments of the world have endorsed an IPCC summary report that makes clear the climate crisis is already upon us and doesn’t mince words in saying that current efforts to slash global warming emissions and adapt to mounting climate impacts fall far short of what’s needed. The science is clear: we have a quickly narrowing window to rein in climate change by making deep cuts in emissions, investing in adaptation, and advancing climate-resilient development. Further delay in action would be catastrophic for people and the planet, and will also cause substantial, rising, and inequitable economic damages. Richer countries bear a significant responsibility for climate action, including cutting their emissions sharply, paying for the loss and damage they have caused, and rapidly scaling up funding for climate-vulnerable developing nations. The world’s scientists say the time for incrementalism is over; now is the time for transformative actions to help secure a safer, more just, and sustainable future for all.”

Dr Stephen Cornelius, WWF Global Lead for IPCC:
“Drought and searing heat, ecosystem destruction, stronger storms and massive floods, species extinction – this is not a list of scenes in an apocalyptic film. Instead, it is the content of an authoritative scientific report detailing the climate impacts that are already wreaking havoc on our planet and its people. Our planet is in peril, and it’s being pushed to – and sometimes beyond – its limits, with the most vulnerable people and ecosystems suffering the most.
The silver lining to the storm clouds is that not all the most extreme impacts are inevitable. With swift action, we can limit their frequency and severity and help people and ecosystems to adapt to some impacts. Nature can be our ally and a crucial buffer, if we choose to restore and protect it. World leaders must heed the warnings in this report and deliver on their climate promises with increased investment to build resilience, while slashing emissions to give adaptation a fighting chance.”  

Kaisa Kosonen, Senior Policy Advisor, Greenpeace Nordic:
“We’re facing some very disturbing facts here about how far into the crisis we’ve already plunged. And yet, this is the safest climate we will ever have, as more warming, sea-level rise, hazards and losses are already locked in. It is painful. But only by facing these facts with brutal honesty can we find solutions that match the scale of the interconnected challenges.”
“People are not going to just sit there waiting for things to get worse. They’re going to act and hold the polluters to account, as we’ve seen from the mass demonstrations, climate elections and blooming court cases for climate justice. This report will provide for a powerful new tool for change.”
“It’s a critical decade, but we can rise to the challenge. We have the solutions, as scientists keep telling us. But governments must stop doing just better and start doing enough. That’s the only way to meet our goals.”

Eddy Pérez, International Climate Diplomacy Manager, Climate Action Network Canada: 
“The science is clear: to avoid nightmare scenarios, we must end the dangerous addiction to oil and gas, which is fuelling the climate crisis, devastating nature, shortening lives, and making the world poorer. Governments at all levels must make urgent and deep emissions cuts to protect us from terrible health impacts and irreversible losses of biodiversity. This IPCC report presents us with a choice: either we continue down the road to disaster, or we work together to build a more equitable, just, and safe world.”

Olha Boiko, Coordinator, CAN Eastern Europe Caucasus and Central Asia 
“Fossil fuels not only cause climate change, but also enable warfare in the midst of the multiple crises in which we all live. On February 24, the Russian army invaded Ukraine to start a full-scale war in the centre of Europe. In 2019, 41% of EU natural gas imports came from Russia, according to Eurostat. Russia has played an important role in the history of climate change and has provided many examples of how fossil fuel dependency and conflict are intertwined. We cannot stop one without the other. Climate science has been unanimous for decades that we need to stop burning fossil fuels. The world just keeps adding more and more horrible examples to support this claim. This IPCC report must add even more reasons for the countries to start acting like we are in a crisis- because we most definitely are in one.”

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Climate & Energy Lead:
“In a year that the UN climate talks will be hosted on a continent that deeply feels the effects of a warming world, this report underscores the consequences of our inaction. World leaders must listen to these warnings from the IPCC and strengthen their support to address climate impacts and build resilience and while fulfilling the Global Goal on Adaptation objectives as a matter of urgency. The real world human, economic and biodiversity costs of further delays will be too great.”

Sandeep Chamling Rai, WWF Senior Advisor on Global Adaptation Policy: “Despite progress, governments left the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow with a giant gap between global ambition on adaptation and loss and damage and what science tells us we need to do. This new report from the IPCC must be a north star to every action they take now. Later this year, Africa – one of the continents most devastated by climate change – will host COP27. Addressing the remaining gaps in adaptation and loss and damage, as recommended by this report, must be a priority for negotiators this year. Lives and livelihoods across the world depend on it.”

Teresa Anderson, Climate Justice Lead, ActionAid International: 
“This report presents a harrowing catalogue of the immense suffering that climate change means for billions of people, now and for the decades to come. It’s the most hard-hitting compilation of climate science the world has ever seen. You can’t read it without feeling sick to your stomach. 
“A global system that provides support to climate-vulnerable countries to pick up the pieces and rebuild in the aftermath of climate disasters is long overdue. The COP27 climate negotiations in Egypt later this year must finally agree to a funding facility to address loss and damage. We know that behind the scenes, the US made attempts to delete references to ‘loss and damage’ from the IPCC text. The Biden administration is not only shutting their eyes to the reality of the climate crisis – they’re trying to blindfold the rest of the world too. They appear to wear a badge of climate leadership, while doing all they can to block those most in need from getting help. It’s dishonest and utterly shameful.”
Steve Trent, CEO and founder, Environmental Justice Foundation:
“The climate crisis is a human rights crisis, and the latest IPCC report has again confirmed the immense human suffering it will bring. Developed nations – who have contributed the most to heating our planet – must do more to address the inequalities, loss and damage driven by global heating. They must increase their support to developing nations and the most vulnerable communities, who did the least to cause this crisis. Decisive action on climate is not a ‘cost’: it is an investment, not just in our future, but in our survival. Such investment would represent the greatest cost-saving of human history.”

Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia:
“Across South Asia, we are already witnessing large-scale human migration and displacement due to droughts, floods, riverbank erosion and sea level rise. Every day more and more people are abandoning their ancestral lands due to increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and yet there are no national laws or international agreements  to protect those who are displaced or are forced to migrate due to climate change. IPCC has once again reminded us that the critical window for action on climate change is closing fast and governments must act now because the cost of inaction today is only going to increase the cost of loss and damage in the future.“

Catalina Gonda, Climate Policy Coordinator, FARN:
“This unsettling report shows that the world is not prepared to cope with today’s climate impacts, let alone to withstand exceeding 1.5 ºC. Climate change is already causing incredible harm, losses and damages in Latin America, where biodiversity loss, existing inequalities, food and water insecurity are being exacerbated all across the continent. The region’s irreplaceable natural and cultural heritage face serious and escalating threats, and we cannot longer keep gambling with Earth’s tipping points. We need to act now.”

Yolande Wright, Global Director, Poverty and Climate, Save the Children:
“Today’s IPCC report sets out the grave reality of what the climate crisis is already doing to people and the planet. Children already know this – children like 13 year old Onja from Madagascar, who lost her home and school a few weeks ago to Cyclone Batsirai – the second of four tropical storms to hit the country in five weeks. Onja told our staff: ‘Schools are being repaired so we don’t have class. I am scared of the next cyclone.‘As time goes on, children will face more climate-induced extreme weather events. We are calling for an IPCC special report on children and climate so that the specific needs of children and their rights are not overlooked, as well as child-friendly versions of existing reports that are accessible to young people at the sharp end of this climate crisis. ‘This report also reminds us how urgent it is that high-income countries help provide the trillions needed in climate finance, including a new finance mechanism to address loss and damage, to help address the cost of irreversible impacts of the climate crisis on children’s rights.”

Alex Rafalowicz, Director, Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative:
“This latest report shows that continued warming will sentence us to a world that we cannot adapt to. Even though we know that extracting everything from existing coal, oil and gas projects alone would push us past the threshold for a livable planet, new projects are still being approved and expanded. The fossil fuel industry will not design its own demise so governments must break this dependence on fossil fuels to protect livelihoods, security and the planet. The future projections of the IPCC can be avoided if we act but action means addressing the fossil fuel system in its entirety.”

Susann Scherbarth, Head of Climate Justice, BUND/ Friends of the Earth Germany:
“Anyone who does not acknowledge the massive scale of climate change impacts is burying their heads in the sand. However, it’s not the time to go into shock. The climate crisis is man-made and must also be tackled by us for everyone – in raising our sleeves and getting down to work.
While the German government is showing more progressive climate plans than ever before, words must be followed by strong deeds and adapted to a 1.5 degree pathway. With the G7 presidency this year, Germany has the duty to ensure climate justice internationally. They must seriously anchor solutions that lead to real emission reductions. The German government must ensure that all G7 countries unconditionally support the end of the fossil fuel era – including nuclear and gas – and commit to socially just climate finance.“

Julia Levin, Senior Climate & Energy Program Manager, Environmental Defence Canada:
“The world’s scientists have delivered their starkest assessment yet of the frightening future that awaits us if we fail to act on climate change. As a top-ten global emitter, Canada bears enormous responsibility to lead the world in a responsible transition off of fossil fuels. The Canadian government must act immediately on its promises which means: capping emissions from the oil and gas sector, rejecting new oil and gas projects like Bay du Nord, redirecting fossil fuel subsidies into proven climate solutions, and investing in a fair transition for communities and workers. Delay will be measured in lost lives, livelihoods, species and ecosystems.” 

May Boeve, Executive Director,
“The IPCC report proves what is causing the problem; fossil fuels did this. But there is good news, we know exactly how to reclaim our futures from the fossil fuel industry: by pushing financial institutions to cut off their funding, and closing doors for Big Oil. Now is the time for supporting the community-led solutions sprouting up all over the world.”

Thandile Chinyavanhu, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Africa:
“For many, the climate emergency is already a matter of life or death, as homes and futures are on the line. This is the lived reality of the communities of Mdantsane that have lost loved ones and their life possessions and for the residents of Qwa qwa unable to access vital health services or school as a result of extreme weather. But we will fight this together. We will go out on the streets, we will go to court, united for justice and we will hold to account those whose actions have disproportionately damaged our planet. They broke it, now they have to fix it.”

Li Shuo, Global Policy Advisor, Greenpeace East Asia:
“​Our natural world is being threatened like never before. That is not the future we deserve and governments must respond to the latest science with action this year at the UN Biodiversity Summit, by committing to protecting at least 30% of land and oceans by 2030.”

Mohamed Adow, Director, Power Shift Africa:
“This IPCC report is a fire alarm for the planet. We all know we are in a climate crisis, but this is a wake up call that we’re facing an adaptation crisis too.
As a species, we are currently failing to adapt to this changing world. Or more accurately, the rich, polluting, global North has changed the planet through fossil fuel burning and is now refusing to help those suffering the effects.
This report shows that the rich world needs to radically increase adaptation support to those on the front lines of this emergency. With 2022 seeing the UN climate summit, COP27, taking place in Africa, this is the perfect year to address the adaptation crisis.”

Dr. Juan Declet-Barreto, Senior Social Scientist for Climate Vulnerability, Union of Concerned Scientists:
“Nations that have contributed the least to the climate crisis, including those in Central and South America, Sub Saharan Africa, South Asia, and on Small Islands have been hit especially hard by the climate crisis due to their extreme exposure to climate risks compounded by inequitable development. This report reinforces the reality that those who have been marginalised in society due their income, race, ethnicity, gender identity, or colonisation, will continue to bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change and suffer increasing losses and damages. As policymakers move to limit climate harms and invest in adaptation measures, they must prioritise equitable solutions that address the needs of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis and elevate longstanding Indigenous and local knowledge.” 
Dr. Rachel Licker, Principal Climate Scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists: “Today, at about 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels, more than 40% of the world’s population is already living in areas highly vulnerable to climate change impacts such as frequent extreme heat, worsening drought and rising sea levels. Some places are experiencing irreversible impacts or extremes so severe that adapting may no longer be a viable option. This report spells out in alarming detail how much more is at risk if policymakers fail during this consequential decade to drastically reduce global heat-trapping emissions and adapt to the impacts that are no longer avoidable. Every fraction of a degree of warming we can avoid matters because significant impacts and even irreversible tipping points will continue to mount as temperatures rise.”

Mitsutoshi Hayakawa, Managing Director, Citizens Alliance for Saving the Atmosphere and the Earth (CASA), Climate Action Network Japan:
The climate crisis has continued relentlessly, and people everywhere are now under the threat of the impacts of catastrophic climate change. The IPCC’s latest report makes clear why we must aim to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C target, and why we must mobilise all necessary policies and measures to achieve carbon neutrality. World leaders must ensure that system change is delivered on an unprecedented scale, based on the latest science, and at the speed needed to achieve the 1.5°C target. In October 2021, Japan revised its Strategic Energy Plan, and based on this, revised its NDC (2030 target), which was recently submitted to the UNFCCC. The Plan states that coal-fired power will account for 19% of electricity generation in 2030, which is completely inconsistent with the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement. Japan needs to initiate consideration of specific policies and measures, including a clear timeline for phasing out domestic coal-fired power generation, and to raise its ambition and submit an enhanced 2030 target in line with the 1.5°C target. In addition to such efforts, it goes without saying that Japan, as the world’s sixth largest emitter in terms of cumulative emissions, is obligated to provide finance to developing countries to address adaptation and loss and damage.

Stela Herschmann, Climate Specialist, Climate Observatory:
“Science once again shows us that climate change is affecting all regions of the world and that this is the decisive decade for action. Our ability to adapt is inversely proportional to the increase in temperature. If the world doesn’t make rapid cuts in emissions we will miss the target of containing warming by 1.5oC. If we miss the target we won’t be able to adapt to various impacts and will only be left to deal with increasing loss and damage.” “One of the biggest messages from the IPCC WGII report is that climate change is a brutal exacerbator of inequality and poverty. Climate justice needs to get on the agenda, and this report is the fullest demonstration yet that we are already living in a context of climate injustice, where the adverse impacts of extreme weather events vary by differences in exposure and vulnerability.”

Mattias Söderberg, Co-chair of the ACT Alliance climate justice group:
“This report shows once again how devastating the effects of the climate crisis are. People and communities suffer, and we must stand together, show solidarity, and take action now.”
“At the last climate summit, COP26, parties agreed to revisit their national climate plans, and developed countries reiterated their promise to deliver climate finance. These promises must now be kept. There is no more time for delay!”
“In spite of worrying news from climate science, we should not lose hope. We can still handle the climate crisis and what is done today will make a difference tomorrow. Investments in mitigation, adaptation, and actions to address climate induced loss and damage must be prioritised and scaled up.”

Sriram Madhusoodanan, International Strategy Director, Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy,:
“Today’s report confirms what many in the Gulf South have known since Hurricane Katrina in 2005: people on the frontlines are already feeling the impacts of climate change, and many have already been displaced. The window to avoid the worst impacts is closing, so we must choose now as the time to take necessary climate actions. 
The IPCC report also confirms that there is a point beyond which we simply cannot “adapt” to climate change. There is a moment after rising sea levels swallow the land or raging wildfires and rising temperatures make the land uninhabitable. We must account for this irreparable loss and damage in our climate response plans and prepare to welcome in people who have been displaced. Rich countries and corporations have disproportionately benefited from fueling the climate crisis, and we echo calls from the Global South that these countries have an obligation to pay reparations in the form of funding for Loss and Damage financing, supporting an equitable transition off fossil fuels, and humane immigration policies.”

Hala S. Murad, Environmental social expert, CEO of the Dibeen Association for Environmental Development & Rights,  Dibeen part of CANAW:
Today we stand again in the face of a  scientific report that tells us that all human rights are in danger in the north and south, but in the south they are more scarier, where poverty, unemployment, lack of quality education, and limited fair transfer of renewable energy technology and its applications, with scarcity of resources, especially water, and deterioration in ecosystems particular In the southern Mediterranean basin.
 All of this and more affects individuals in the form of explicit human rights violations. Therefore, the human rights system and its various mechanisms must be supported, and local communities must be empowered to be part of solutions, recognize their experiences, and make their participation in decision-making a meaningful dimension.
 Experiences tell us that we must take sides with the people and their choices in dealing with these upcoming and existing disasters

Nikki Reisch, Climate & Energy Director, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL):
“Some of Working Group II’s most sobering findings were diluted or deleted from the final Summary for Policymakers approved by State Parties. But while Parties can water down wording, they cannot negotiate away the science. The underlying chapters of the WGII report, including the technical summary, leave no doubt: surpassing 1.5°C will lead to irreparable harm, whether or not return to lower temperatures is even possible. Planning for overshoot and assuming the ability to reverse warming later courts disaster.”
“Technological carbon dioxide removal schemes will take decades to deploy at meaningful scales, in which time severe and irreversible harms could occur. Risky and uncertain technologies like Solar Radiation Management would not address the drivers of the climate crisis and would create significant new risks. Policy choices that lock the world into overshooting 1.5°C and gambling on return, rather than immediately and drastically slashing emissions — including through rapid phaseout of fossil fuel production and use and a halt to deforestation — invite permanent loss and irreversible damage to humans and ecosystems around the world. In the face of this latest IPCC report, such choices are indefensible.”

Colin Roche, climate justice and energy coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe: 
“This report makes for grim reading in what are already dark times. The impacts of the climate crisis are worse than predicted, and happening faster than predicted – and the impacts on more vulnerable parts of the world are even more dire.
“Europe, as a rich region and prime culprit, must act like this is the emergency it is. There must be no more delays or excuses to massively accelerate the roll-out of renewables and home renovations and end our dependence on fossil fuels. Europe must deliver on its responsibility to support those hardest affected by the climate crisis and ensure that everyone can participate in the energy transition.”

Glen Klatovsky, acting Executive Director Climate Action Network Australia:
“Today we have devastating floods across two states with at least 7 dead. Just two years ago we experienced the worst bushfires ever recorded during unprecedented droughts across much of the nation. Australia is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and our people are suffering.
“We are also a fossil fuel giant, the largest exporter of LNG, the equal largest exporter of coal and still heavily reliant on fossil fuels for our energy supplies. We are a global laggard on action on climate change. Our government is acting in a way that simply exacerbates the pain caused by climate change on our people.” 

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Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Officer, Climate Action Network International,  / +918826107930

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1500 NGOs in more than 130 countries fighting the climate crisis. More information on

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