On Tuesday, the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) was released, representing the most comprehensive scientific evaluation of climate change.
On Tuesday, the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) was released, representing the most comprehensive scientific evaluation of climate change. It summarizes five years of reports on global temperature rises, fossil fuel emissions, and climate impacts.
The report delves into the risks and damages we face, highlighting the need for high-level solutions to prevent some of the worst consequences. The report isn’t all dim and grim. It also highlights solutions and the opportunity for reversal.
The World Resource Institute has summarized the report's 10 top findings.
1. 1.1 degrees Celsius warming has led to unprecedented changes, such as ocean acidification, sea-level rise, wildfires, unprecedented rainfall, more frequent droughts, and so on.
2. Climate impacts are more severe than expected, with half of the world experiencing severe water scarcity for at least one month per year. Every fraction of a degree of warming will only amplify these effects.
3. Adaptation solutions are available, but more funding is required to scale them. Climate policies now include adaptation, but these efforts must move from planning to implementation. Developing countries alone will need $127 billion annually by 2030 and $295 billion annually by 2050 to adapt to climate change.
4. Some climate impacts are so severe that we cannot be resilient in the face of them. Coral reefs in many coastal communities have died off, destroying food sources and livelihoods. Rising sea levels have forced other communities to move to higher ground.
5. The report indicates a more than 50% chance that global temperature rise will reach or surpass 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2021 and 2040.
6. Fossil fuels are the primary cause of climate change, and it is imperative to move away from them immediately. We must retire fossil-fuel equipment, cancel new projects, retrofit existing systems with CCS technologies, and scale renewable initiatives.
7. System-wide transitions are necessary, as our efforts cannot be siloed. We must explore solutions in every sector of the global economy, including transportation, buildings, agriculture, and more.
8. Carbon removal is essential to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Decarbonization alone will not suffice, and we must supplement these efforts with carbon removal innovations such as restoration, sequestration, and direct air capture.
9. Climate finance must increase between three and six times by 2030 to achieve mitigation goals. Furthermore, finance for adaptation will need to rise dramatically.
10. We must prioritize a just transition from greenhouse gases and consider equity, as climate change disproportionately affects historically marginalized communities. Households with incomes in the top 10% emit upwards of 45% of the world's greenhouse gases, while those earning in the bottom 50% account for no more than 15%.
While the path forward will not be easy, we have solutions available and must implement an all-hands-on-deck mentality to lower temperatures and ensure a just transition for everyone. Achieving these goals will require deeply-rooted change at a level never seen before.
Various studies have shown that embracing low or zero-waste initiatives can significantly impact the environment.
Electrification of homes can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. Electrification involves switching homes from natural gas-powered appliances to electric appliances, such as electric furnaces and electric water heaters