Posted on May 17, 2022
Five things 350.org learned from the IPCC climate impacts report
This latest climate impacts report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is important. This is potentially the last report on impacts we’re going to get while we have the chance to avoid the worst impacts of global heating.
And the report is bad, but it also offers a way forward and shows us what we need to do. This is the decade that we can and need to change things.
Here are 350’s five takeaways from the report and ways you can fight for a safe and livable future.
1. Impacts are already here
Some of the climate impacts the fossil fuel industry has inflicted upon us are here to stay. Some of these aren’t reversible – at least not in a timeframe that’s meaningful for people and life on earth.
The level of warming we’re at is already having dire impacts on people across the world: half of the entire population of the planet faces water scarcity for an entire month every year. Droughts, fires, floods and diseases are already happening more often, and they are more severe.
2. 1.5°c of warming would have deadly, irreversible consequences
The more we go over 1.5°c, and the longer we stay there, the more we will end up in a vicious cycle of climate impacts. Existing impacts will be made worse, happen faster and release even more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, which will lead to even more, and likely permanent, impacts.
Every fraction of warming means more suffering for most life on our planet. More fossil fuels and more emissions will mean that impacts will be harder to manage.
The report is clear, every fraction of a degree of warming we can stop is worth fighting for
3. Adaptation is necessary, but there is a limit to what it can do
Around three and half billion people, 40% of the world’s population, live in places extremely vulnerable to the risks of the climate crisis. In these places, the impacts of global heating could destroy the fragile ecosystems that support human life, as well as many other species.
We might be able to adapt to some of these impacts. But not all of them, and not all of us.
Where adaptation is even possible, countries on the frontline need resources. And many are faced with the prospect of not being able to fund a fair transition to clean, renewable energy because they are spending their money dealing with climate impacts caused by countries that produce the most fossil fuels.
We have to make sure the cost of damages caused by fossil fuel companies, and fossil fuel producing countries, are met by those who caused those damages in the first place.
4. There is still time to act – that action must start with ending the era of fossil fuels
“The world’s biggest polluters are guilty of arson in our only home.” That is a direct quote from the UN Secretary General launching the IPCC climate impacts report.
We’ve known that all along – fossil fuel companies are responsible. And the clearest way to take action to secure a safe and livable planet is to stop our dependency on them and fairly transition to renewable energy.
195 countries signed off the report. This means 195 governments acknowledge that we need to act now. If they’re not doing what it takes, we can make them with people power – just like we have before.
Our movement stopped a huge, open-pit coal mine from going ahead in Brazil. We pressured the French Government into pulling funding from a gas pipeline in the Arctic. Activists in our movement stopped the Keystone XL pipeline in North America. New coal plants are becoming harder and harder to build.
Every battle won is another step towards a safe, livable planet. And they’re worth fighting because every fraction of a degree matters.
Every fraction of a degree we prevent could save or improve the lives of thousands, maybe even millions of people.
5. Every voice can make a difference.
UN Secretary General António Guterres said this, exactly – “Every voice can make a difference.”
Your voice matters. And to keep winning, we need to build this movement.
One of the most powerful things you can do in the fight for a safe and livable future is to have a voice – simply talking to your friends and loved ones can have a huge impact. Every conversation could inspire another person to join our fight against the fossil fuel industry. And the more of us who join the fight, the more powerful we become.
Want to learn more about how to have these conversations with friends and loved ones? Check out our handy resource here.