The long, hot summer – but it’s not August, it’s not even 2021. It’s the whole 21st century. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released findings today. Here is a summary:
- Climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying
- Warming is speeding up
- Every region of the world is facing climate change
- Human influence is a major cause – and could be the cure (IPCC 9 August 2021)
It’s (almost) not too late. Can we meet the challenges? Some changes, like rising seas, may be permanent. Other results may last a century but could be eased or even reversed. There is still time to determine the future we choose (Figueres and Rivett-Carnac, 2020). Throughout history, people have responded to crisis with innovation. Energy transitions have been turning points in civilization: Tennessee Valley Authority hydroelectric power gave the world the first homes with refrigerators when the TVA opened the town of Norris. Danger led to the Manhattan Project and development of atomic energy. Geothermal, solar, wind, and wave power offer options in every region.
Regions all share climate change but conditions will vary. “For the first time, the Sixth Assessment Report provides a more detailed regional assessment of climate change, including a focus on useful information that can inform risk assessment, adaptation, and other decision-making, and a new framework that helps translate physical changes in the climate – heat, cold, rain, drought, snow, wind, coastal flooding and more – into what they mean for society and ecosystem.” (IPCC 2021) Regional information and options can be explored in detail in the newly developed Interactive Atlas here.
Climate Nexus. “IPCC: Human-Caused Climate Change Impacts Severe, Widespread.” 9 August 2021. https://climatenexus.org/climate-change-news/ipcc-climate-change-2021-report/
Figueres, Christiana and Tom Rivett-Carnac. The Future We Choose. 2020. ISBN: ;9780593080931.
International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “Sixth Assessment: Summary.” https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2021/08/IPCC_WGI-AR6-Press-Release_en.pdf
IPCC “What Matters?” 2018. VIDEO: https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/mulitimedia/video/
Plumer, Brad and Henry Fountain. “A Hotter Future Is Certain, Climate Panel Warns. But How Hot Is Up to Us.” 9 August 2021. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/09/climate/climate-change-report-picc-un.html?referringSource=articleShare
Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G. Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unp