Are natural and human systems pushed beyond their ability to adapt? Ominous IPCC report urge more action NOW

Are natural and human systems pushed beyond their ability to adapt?
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The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment report- Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (AR6) details how climate change has “caused widespread adverse impacts and related losses and damages to nature and people”.

This is the second part of the IPCC’s AR6 focused on the latest evidence on the distressing impacts of climate change.  It details how the alarming “rise in weather and climate extremes has led to some irreversible impacts as natural and human systems are pushed beyond their ability to adapt”.

“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.”

Researchers who contributed to the report shared what they think are the most important insights with Carbon Brief:

“The science is unequivocal: any further delay will miss the brief window we have to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.” Prof Hans-Otto Poertner

“Effectiveness of most adaptation responses decreases drastically at global warming levels of 1.5C to 2C, showing that mitigation and adaptation efforts have to go hand in hand.” Dr Aditi Mukherji

“Climate change doesn’t affect people and environments equally around the world; it’s often the poorest people who are least able to adapt.” Prof Lindsay Stringer

“These new findings emphasise the narrowing window of opportunity for adaptation and mitigation actions to take place.” Dr Marie-Fanny Racault 

“For the first time, the IPCC notes that climate change is already contributing to humanitarian crises.” Prof Maarten van Aalst

“The development of the concept of ‘climate-resilient development’ is the most exciting part of the report.” Dr Lisa Schipper 

“The report indicates that involving marginalised and vulnerable groups in inclusive planning processes and drawing on Indigenous and local knowledge are other approaches that support effective adaptation.”  Prof Rachel Bezner Kerr

“Our report contains a lot of bad news, but also offers encouragement and motivation to step up our responses to climate change.” Prof Richard Betts

“The report finds that very high risks emerge in all reasons for concern over the range 1.2 to 4.5C global average warming.” Prof Rachel Warren

“A major take home message from the report is the urgent need to take action in order to achieve a sustainable and climate-resilient future. We can’t wait, we can’t postpone it, the costs of inaction are too great and we are not on track.” Dr Carol Franco 

“The future is in our hands. The adaptation, mitigation, and development choices we make will determine all of our futures.” Prof Kristie Ebi

“We may not be able to stop the worst impacts of climate change and prevent the severe damage to key systems, but with adequate financing of adaptation and resilience, many systems and the most vulnerable can be afforded some protection.” Prof David Viner

“This report gives long overdue recognition to the importance of Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge for more effective and culturally-appropriate climate adaptation.”  Dr Ruth Morgan 

“The linkages between climate change induced water insecurity and migration and conflicts are, in a first, assessed in this report.” Dr Martina Angela Caretta

“[The report] includes, for the first time, specific analyses of risks to biodiversity hotspots and to the terrestrial biodiversity of small islands.  Dr Jeff Price

The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), as well as additional materials and information, are available at https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg2/

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