Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change publishes new report
“The train has left”: Scientists demand much more from politicians
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (symbol image)
© Source: RND Illustration
Interlaken. The drastic warnings of climate science are well known. Heat, droughts and floods are increasingly showing the terrible consequences of man-made climate change. Now the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) comes with another report. A synthesis report bringing together what he has published since 2018. Does the world need this?
“Absolutely,” said one of the authors, the climate researcher Matthias Garschagen from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich of the German Press Agency. The report is scheduled to be released on March 20th. “It will become very clear that climate protection alone is no longer enough. The train has left,” he said. “Today we have clear effects of climate change and need to adapt to it.” The synthesis report also clearly shows how the climate protection goals can be achieved. “And from this the nonsense of certain political paths can also be deduced.”
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Clear message from Interlaken
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) consists of the representatives of the 195 member countries, who commission the scientific community to develop various climate change scenarios, among other things. “What if …” is shown in the case of both good and bad climate protection. However, governments must make concrete decisions.
You have received summaries for politicians of all six partial reports since 2018 (summary for policy makers). But the message is still not clear enough, according to many scientists. “Sometimes the summaries are rather vaguely formulated,” said co-author Oliver Geden from the Science and Politics Foundation in Berlin of the dpa. “That’s because unanimity is necessary, every country can veto it.” The formulations must not contradict scientific findings. “But they don’t always correspond 100 percent to the intention of the actual report.”
Scientists are therefore struggling with more than 650 government representatives this week in Interlaken, Switzerland, to explain things as clearly as possible. The message: It is high time. Action must be taken now.
Report as a “basis for climate protection negotiations”
The process is tedious as the summary for politicians is chewed through line by line. Saudi Arabia is considered difficult because of its interests in climate-damaging oil production, as is India, which, like the West and China, has so far wanted to grow industrially without major restrictions.
The process is still worthwhile, says Geden. Because once the report is approved, there is no going back: “What is in it is the basis for climate protection negotiations and is usually no longer questioned by governments.”
Now the most recent three reports, published between summer 2021 and spring 2022, were alarming enough: climate change is happening faster and with more serious consequences than previously thought. Even in the most favorable scenario with strong Measures for climate protection the goal of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels is likely to be exceeded for at least a while from the 2030s onwards. The energy system must be converted to 100 percent renewable energy. Three to six times as much must be invested in climate protection worldwide as is currently the case.
Lessons learned from recent crises
However, the synthesis report should be even clearer. For example at 1.5 degree target, or the path to it. “The reports of Working Groups 1 and 3 have already shown that we will probably remain above 1.5 degrees for decades.” 5 degrees, says Geden. And Garschagen says: “It will be about what the risk is if the goal of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees above the pre-industrial level is temporarily exceeded.”
He is optimistic that something is finally happening in politics. “Due to the recent crises such as the pandemic, violent conflicts, the war against Ukraine and the energy crises, politicians have understood: You have to think about crises as a whole because they can reinforce each other. I see that there is at least the insight that more needs to be done.”