Accelerated action is required to adapt to climate change alongside making rapid, deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new IPCC report published today.
Progress on adaptation is uneven and there are increasing gaps between action taken and what is needed to deal with the increasing risks, the new report finds. These gaps are largest among lower-income populations.
“This report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. “It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our wellbeing and a healthy planet. Our actions today will shape how people adapt and nature responds to increasing climate risks.”
The world faces unavoidable multiple climate hazards over the next two decades with global warming of 1.5°C (2.7°F). Even temporarily exceeding this warming level will result in additional severe impacts, some of which will be irreversible. Risks for society will increase, including to infrastructure and low-lying coastal settlements.
People’s health, lives and livelihoods, as well as property and critical infrastructure, including energy and transportation systems, are being increasingly adversely affected by hazards from heatwaves, storms, drought and flooding as well as slow-onset changes, including sea level rise, it adds.
“Together, growing urbanisation and climate change create complex risks, especially for those cities that already experience poorly planned urban growth, high levels of poverty and unemployment, and a lack of basic services,” said Debra Roberts, IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair.
Adequate funding, technology transfer, political commitment and partnership lead to more effective climate change adaptation and emissions reductions. “The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and the health of the planet. Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair.
"Every business needs to have robust mitigation and adaptation strategies in place," he said. "Any company that does not understand and manage the climate risks posed to its value chains will not thrive in the future or be driven to the rapid decarbonisation required to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.
"It is crucial that business understands and urgently addresses both its global impacts and the impacts it will face to ensure not only its own future resilience but by extension that of our economies, our societies and the planet.”
Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet makes key appointments
Meanwhile the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) has announced that Simon Harford will join as its inaugural CEO and UNICEF's Ravi Venkatesan will serve as Board Chair.
These key leadership appointments mark a significant milestone for the Alliance, which was launched during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November with US$10bn to accelerate investment in green energy transitions and renewable power solutions in emerging economies worldwide.
"The Alliance will show that a coalition of committed partners and a lot of innovation can make a meaningful reduction in carbon emissions and a big leap in energy access," said Venkatesan.