The entire report is more than 4,000 pages, but (from the Washington Post), here are is their introduction plus five critical lines:

“The new report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the most comprehensive look ever at the state of climate science. And, it’s massive.

The full report is nearly 4,000 pages long, with 234 authors and some 14,000 citations to existing scientific studies. It includes mountains of evidence detailing the scope of human-induced climate change and expectations of what the future might hold if greenhouse gas emissions continue to climb.

U.N. Secretary General António Guterres called the findings “a code red for humanity.” These are five sentences — taken directly from the report — that illuminate the warning.”

Smoke from 1500 miles (2000 km) distant turns New Zealand skies orange.

‘It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.’

Neither scientists nor the United Nations use terms such as “unequivocal” lightly.

The wording is also representative of how far the science has come over the decades. The 1995 IPCC report, which at the time was groundbreaking, wrote that “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.” The 2014 version of the report said that “human influence on the climate system is clear.”

Today, it’s “unequivocal.”

‘The last decade was more likely than not warmer than any multi-centennial period after the Last Interglacial, roughly 125,000 years ago.’

The 2014 report also found that the preceding three decades had warmed more than any other period in the previous 1,400 years. The 2021 report pushes that timeline back much further.

The latest version of the report, he said, also addresses the rate of change at a much more gradual level, moving from millennial to decanal time scales. It finds that ″human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2,000 years.”

Even the lowest emissions scenario, Kaufman noted, estimates that at least 1 degree Celsius of warming — compared to 1850-1900 levels — will persist for centuries. He says that means “there’s no going back.”

‘Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.’

Another major advance from earlier assessments is scientists’ ability to link climate change to weather and climatic systems.

“The IPCC has connected the dots on climate change and the increase in dangerous extreme weather events … far more directly than in past reports” said Michael Mann, professor of atmospheric Science at Pennsylvania State University.

It has also shown that these impacts are going to be felt in nearly every corner of the globe, and will get worse as temperatures increase across higher and higher thresholds.

‘With further global warming, every region is projected to increasingly experience concurrent and multiple changes in climatic impact-drivers.’

Ruane sees this line as among the most important in the report.

“Impact-drivers,” he explained, refer to the dozens of different types of climate change effects, such as temperature or coastal flooding, that the report examined. The report demonstrates that the impacts will become incrementally worse as emissions, and consequently warming, grow.

“It’s more than just the headline extreme events,” he said, adding that “these largest set of changes start to act in combination.”

The IPCC report found that many changes due to greenhouse gas emissions are already “irreversible” — such as melting glaciers, said Ruane. But there is some hope amid the gloom.

“This is not just a cause for concern but also a cause to recognize that we have agency here,” he said. “If we can stabilize the climate system, we can steer clear of the largest changes.”

‘Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.’

Discussions around climate change often involve the idea of keeping the planet from warming beyond certain thresholds, such as 1.5 degrees or 2 degrees Celsius — the latter of which scientists and policymakers have identified as a red line if the planet is to avoid catastrophic and irreversible consequences.

The world is already experiencing 1.09 degrees of warming, according to the report. The best-case scenarios it explored would stabilize warming at 1.5 degrees, but that would involve cutting emissions to “net-zero” by 2050.

So far, though, countries are falling short of what is needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change, according to a U.N. analysis from earlier this year. Even if current emissions pledges are realized, they would amount to just a 1 percent reduction in global emissions by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. Scientists say the number needs to be closer to a 50 percent reduction.

“We must act decisively now,” said Guterres, the U.N. chief. “Every fraction of a degree counts.”

If you don’t read the news, read this anyway. This isn’t about you or me and our “comfort zone.” It’s about survival for all of us. If you care at all and believe despite our failures as a species, we can hope to continue on this planet, read this and read more.

Otherwise, there is a very strong chance that there will be no more human species in less than 100 years. That’s what Stephen Hawking gave us, but of course that was years ago.

He might well give us less time now.

Categories: Anecdote, climate, climate change

Tags: , ,

14 replies

  1. Thanks for sharing! But I’ve a feeling that the naysayers will still deny it


  2. It is worth remembering that the IPCC reports are based on models, i.e. modelled scenarios.


    • Yes, but I also look around. It IS hotter. We aren’t getting the snow we got and that was what refilled our waterways. The weather has changed. Half of the birds around here are dying of some kind of fungus caused by excessive rain. But mostly, it is VERY VERY HOT. We’ve been having weeks that are like summer in the middle of the winter. That NEVER happened before. I’m not optimistic. By any form of reckoning, humans are killing the world.

      At some point, I’m sure sane and sensible people may make a dent in the madness, but will our world last long enough? I think I’ll just worry about baseball. The worst thing that can happen is we’ll lose. I think I’ll survive that.


      • This guy, former NASA scientist, does a lot of number crunching on the temps –
        His reckoning is that the average global warming over land since 1979 is 0.18 degree C per decade. Climate is a tricky thing. I don’t think we can be certain about anything we think we know.


        • I’m looking for something positive, so I’m open to suggestions. But I gotta tell you, I actually know some climate scientists and a few meteorologists — and they believe we have warmed up even MORE than we’ve heard. AND it’s not the same everywhere. For example, Switzerland’s temperature has gone up much more than the U.K.’s while around here, it has gone up less. On our west coast — California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Oregon, Washington State, and more — the temperature has not only gone higher, but the rain has stopped. It’s unbelievably hot out there. Granted it was hot already in the west, but temperatures in the 100s were not common whereas now, when it DROPS BELOW 100, that’s news. These temperatures were non-existent in places like Oregon, Washington, and northern California. These area were cooled by the prevailing winds and cooler ocean water — but those winds don’t prevail anymore. The oceans have changed. Especially the Atlantic is obviously warmer. If you grew up along this coast, you know what the water was like when you were young — and how different it is NOW.

          We can niggle about exactly how much higher the temperature has gone, but regardless, we are seeing broiling hot summers in places like Mongolia and the Yukon (Canada) not to mention the rapid disintegration of the ice sheets. How much is too much?

          Half of this country is on fire and another quarter is flooded. Ironically, up here in the northeast, we have had less destruction than out west and down south. So far, we’ve been lucky but I doubt our luck will last indefinitely. About half of Massachusetts is below sea level because huge areas along the coast were water or marshes. They were drained in the 19th and early 20th century, so from water they came and back to water they will go.

          Forget for a minute the numbers. We can SEE what is going on. The fires. The parched earth. The floods. The death of the ice sheets. The change in the prevailing winds. The warming of the oceans. The changes in bird and animal life because of the loss of their habitat. I think quibbling about this is why we aren’t doing anything about it. Regardless of which number is the right number, we can SEE how much the earth has changed even during the past 20 years. This mess didn’t start 20 years ago. We’ve been cutting down forests, trashing our oceans, and killing off our wildlife as long as we’ve had the weaponry to do it. Hell, before we were Homo Sapiens we killed off the Woolly Mammoths — and that was using stone spears.

          What we need to do is agree that whatever we did and however it happened, IT HAPPENED. We need to do something about it and we need to do it SOON, not “someday we’ll get around to it.” If we don’t agree and we don’t get busy repairing the planet, it won’t happen and whether it’s in smaller or larger temperature increments, we are still going to make this planet unlivable. Piece by piece, as the rains don’t fall and the temperatures are too high for the plants we grew — and the fish can’t survive in the warmer oceans — and we’ve already killed off a BILLION BIRDS in the past 50 years and are still killing millions more every year.

          Arguing about stuff like this is stealing time and making too many people think “oh, it really isn’t such a big deal.” But is IS a big deal and has been for a long time. You know yourself what has happened in Africa. Here, I can tell by the reduced snowfall and the insane changes in bird and plant life that it’s bad. Even if we get a decent winter this year, it won’t make up for all the other previous winters when it didn’t get cold enough to kill mosquitoes and ticks, much less drop enough snow to fill our aquifer.

          This is scary stuff. You and I are can be pretty sure we won’t live to see how this ends, but I know if we don’t stop destroying the forests and the oceans, that by itself will do us in.

          I know I sound preachy, but this preys on my mind. No amount of playing with numbers is going to change it. We have to change it. Because we broke it.


          • My concern is that if the issues aren’t properly debated, exploring the full-scope of observable scientific findings, then the solutions proffered by political entities could very well be the wrong ones.


  3. well done in your summary and it is terrifying


    • It is. That’s probably why people are pretending nothing is going on. Most of us — certainly me, for one — feel helpless. This isn’t something we can fix by recycling. Nations need to come together. Nations need to put their money into dealing with this and they need to start yesterday. I’m not seeing that. And yeah. Terrifying.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. An excellent summary oh the IPCC Report 2021. Thank you 😊


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