The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has today delivered the world’s most extensive report on the impact of climate change on our planet.
The group of 234 scientists looked at over 14,000 scietific papers. It is the first time a major report of this kind and size has been published since 2013.
The UN landmark report suggests that humanity’s damaging impact on the climate is a ‘statement of fact’ and the past five years have been the hottest on record since 1850. The document, a 42-page publication known as the ‘Summary for Policymakers’, will provide a focal point for COP26, planned to be held in the UK this coming November. It is likely that global surface temperature will be a major talking point, which was 1.09°C higher between 2011-2020 than 1850-1900.
The findings also say that ongoing emissions could lead to a key temperature limit broken in just over a decade if we do not take urgent action, though limiting the temperature rise t 1.5°C is still possible.
“Today’s IPCC Working Group 1 Report is a code red for humanity,” said UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. “If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. I count on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure COP26 is a success.”
The authors say that since 1970, global surface temperatures have risen faster than in any other 50-year period over the past 2,000 years.
This warming is ‘already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe’. In the previous 2013 report, scientists were reluctant to ascribe extreme events (such as the heatwaves and torrential rain seen across Europe this week) to being at least partly down to climate change.
To find more information as well as tips for helping to prevent harmful emissions, check out our Climate Action page and keep an eye on our homepage and social media for further updates on COP26 throughout the year.
Planetary is currently working with UKSSN – the schools eco network – as well as numerous supporters to publish an anthology of youth voices in support of COP26. We have collected over 200 submissions of poetry, photographs and artwork from students aged 11-18, representing over 50 schools, through our international competition ‘Words and Pictures for Your World.’ To vote for your favourites, sign up to our exclusive Planetary You Tab where you can not only browse the shortlists and vote, but discover exclusive content and interviews!