IPCC Climate Change 2021 Report Summary

We have summarised the key points from the latest IPCC report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis‘ more information can be found below: 

  • Human activities affect all the major climate system components, with some responding over decades and others over centuries. 
  • Some recent hot extremes observed over the past decade would have been extremely unlikely to occur without human influence on the climate system. 
  • Human influence has unequivocally warmed the planet. This is the first IPCC report to say with full confidence that humans are the cause of increased warming.  
  • Climate science is getting better and more precise. The increased data from land, oceans and space have reduced the uncertainty about what’s occurring.  
  • We are locked into 30 years of worsening climate impacts no matter what happens globally. Warming will increase until the middle of the century, even if humans take immediate steps today to sharply cut emissions.  
  • Climatic changes are happening more rapidly. The rate of sea level rise has roughly doubled since 2006, with each of the past four decades being successively warmer than the previous one.  
  • There is still a window in which humans can alter the climate path. The report says that aggressive, rapid widespread emissions cuts, beginning now, could limit the warming beyond 2050. 
  • Projected changes in extremes are larger in frequency and intensity with every additional increment of global warming. 

 

IPCC Climate Change 2021 Report Data and Points of Action 

Before getting into the detail, it is important to explain who the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are. The IPCC is an organisation of governments that are members of the United Nations or World Meteorological Organisation. The IPCC has 195 members, and the work they do involves thousands of people contributing from all over the world. 

It’s hard to put the 3,949-page IPCC report across in a single article. Hopefully the followingse images from the recent report will be enough.  

According to the IPCC report, figure 1 demonstrates the current impact humans have had on the global surface temperature up to now.  

The report reaffirms with high confidence that there is a near-linear relationship between cumulative anthropogenic CO2 emissions and the global warming they cause. 

How can you contribute? 

So how can we translate this into digestible implications for the West Midlands and for us as individuals?  

We need all of you to contribute to our region’s ambitions if we’re to be successful. If you’re wondering where to start, here are some thoughts to take away and possibly share with your friends and colleagues. 

Do your bit 

  • Be proactive not reactiveCalculate the carbon footprint of your business or household. You can’t work towards a target that you haven’t measured.  
  • Be realistic and prioritise. What can you do based on your carbon footprint and lifestyle that has multiple benefits? For example, walking to work can improve your health, reduce congestion, improve air quality, save money, and reduce your impact on the climate crisis  

Influence others 

  • Be curious. Find and share your most favoured method to learn about the climate crisis. This could be to read, listen to podcasts, follow reliable online resources, or watch documentaries.  
  • Be a positive influencer.  Just by doing the simplest of things you will have a greater impact on helping alleviate the climate crisis and its impact on your future. You will also empower others with your actions and demonstrate that a change in lifestyle is positive and possible.  

We need to adapt as well as mitigate 

  • Be resilientAs we’ve said, even if we meet our Net Zero targets, the changing climate will increase the occurrence and severity of natural hazards in the West Midlands. This includes primary hazards (floods, fires, drought) and secondary hazards (supply chain problems, delays, lack of choices, trauma etc). Work with us to consider how resilient you and your business is to an increase in such occurrences. 

SWM will continue to respond to the messages that are coming from reports such as this latest IPCC analysis, along with recent reports published by the UK’s Climate Change Committee. Examples of our recent activity are here. Perhaps, as an initial activity, your business can sign up to the West Midlands Net Zero Business Pledge to demonstrate your commitment to the cause. 

Read the full Report Summary here