What’s the latest IPCC report about?

05.04.22 By

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just released the third part of its Sixth Assessment Report, which clearly shows that the world is not moving fast enough to curb emissions this decade, and we’re seeing the devastating consequences play out in real-time in Australia. 

The central message of the IPCC report is clear: governments must rally to drastically cut emissions and cease the extraction and burning of fossil fuels this decade. Every fraction of a degree of warming saved, will be counted in lives saved. Global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 and halve by 2030 to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.

What is the IPCC?

The IPCC is the most authoritative international body on climate science. The IPCC was established in 1988 and is an essential component of the world’s response to climate change. Its Assessment Reports – published every five to eight years – have been a driving force for action, heavily influencing international agreements.

Hang on… didn’t another IPCC report JUST come out?

Yep! In fact, this is the third part of the ‘Sixth Assessment Report’ to come out in the past 6 months. We know this is all a little confusing, so here’s the breakdown…

Overall the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) is the most comprehensive review of the state of knowledge on climate change ever completed, and contains over eight years’ worth of new peer reviewed science. It is an update to the IPCC’s last such report published in 2014.

In October, a shorter report called the Synthesis Report will be released. This last report in the series summarises the three substantive reports – that run to a total of over 10,000 pages! – into a simpler, and easier to digest whole.

Together these four reports make up the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report cycle, which provides the best available science information to all countries.

With action in this decade being absolutely critical to determining our future, the information contained in the Sixth Assessment Report is our last and best hope of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. If we have not taken significant action by the time the Seventh Assessment Report is compiled around 2029, the outlook for our future will be much more bleak than it is today.

What are the main takeaways from this report?

Progress has been made, but not nearly enough

We have virtually all the solutions, we just need to roll them out

Fossil fuels have got to go

The costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of action

We can still turn this around

So, what now?

This latest IPCC report makes it clear that we have almost run out of time. Our window to avoid the worst of climate change is rapidly closing. So the decisions we choose to make over the coming decade will make a world of difference to our health, well being and economic future. By the time the Seventh Assessment Report comes around, we will have locked ourselves into a much worse future. We must make this our last warning.

While no developed country has more to lose from climate change-fuelled extreme weather, no one has more to gain as the world transforms to a zero-carbon economy than Australia does. Australia has enough sun and wind to be a world leader in renewable energy, as well as in industries such as clean manufacturing, minerals processing and renewable hydrogen. Generations of Australians could work in these clean industries, reducing Australia’s emissions while helping our neighbours to reduce theirs as well. 

We know what is required to deeply, permanently and immediately reduce emissions, and Australia should be cashing in on those solutions and creating a prosperous, healthy future. 

In short, globally, we are a very long way from where we need to be, and Australia is far behind the global pack
The Morrison Government has already wasted eight years. It’s time for the federal political leaders from all parties to step up and take action to rapidly decrease emissions this decade, and grasp the incredible opportunity that climate action presents for Australia.