Written by Andrew Baker
Associate Director, Energy and Sustainability
The most detailed report to date into the risks to life and livelihood posed by climate change was released yesterday. The report comes some seven years after the hard hitting Stern Review made the economic case for governments for strong early action to avoid the negative impacts of climate change.
Yesterday’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes clear the scale of the challenge faced by governments and consumers, pulling together work of over 300 scientists and 12,000 academic articles into the most comprehensive statement on climate risks to date.
The authors present strong evidence that climate change is already occurring in many natural systems, for example in the thawing of Arctic permafrost, and that its impacts are already being felt in critical human systems such as agriculture.
Even for those of us already well aware of the risks to economic and political stability posed by climate change the report makes sobering reading. Yet the scientists involved have somehow avoided the obvious urge to start the report with “We’re doomed”, instead choosing to skilfully frame the evidence as an urgent call to action for governments and policy makers.
With such a comprehensive body of evidence now in place maybe this long awaited report will finally provide the final impetus to get the crucial global agreement on emissions limits, which can, as the report assures us, help us to mitigate the most severe risks posed by climate change.
You can read the full report here