Latest IPCC Report Offers Warnings and Resolutions

Latest IPCC Report Offers Warnings and Resolutions

The latest IPCC report released last week, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres didn’t mince words by calling it “a file of shame, cataloging the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world.” But the 3,000-page document does make it clear that both the technology and policy tools to take on the climate crisis are readily available. It’s just a matter of actually doing them, which means taking on the fossil fuel industry and politicians invested in maintaining the harmful status quo.


IPCC: IPCC Sixth Assessment Report - Climate Change 2022 | Mitigation of Climate Change trailer, April 4, 2022.

Why This Matters

According to an earlier IPCC report released late February, there isn’t any time to lose because “any further delay will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.” The planet has already warmed 1 degree Celsius and is on track to well exceed the 1.5-degree Paris Agreement goal. Given that emissions have continued to increase over the past decade despite having the best scientific understanding of climate change yet, it is clear that having the information isn’t enough.

As climate scientist Andrew Dessler put it to Rolling Stone, “Climate change is not a scientific or technical problem -- it’s a political problem.

BBC: UN scientists say it's 'now or never' to limit global warming, April 4, 2022.

The Economist: See what three degrees of global warming looks like, October 7, 2021.

A Social Science Issue

Last week’s IPCC report was the first to address social science barriers to solving the climate crisis. In other words, how human behavior is tied to whether or not climate action happens. A report from last year revealed that less than a quarter of a percent of research funding for climate research went to the social science of climate mitigation over the last thirty-some years. In that time, society’s overall understanding of how to implement the available technologies and policies has changed and improved drastically.

“Back in the ‘80s, we believed in the information deficit model of social change, and that if we could only get the information to policymakers they would do the right thing,” Ken Caldeira, senior scientist for Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy, told Rolling Stone. “And now we see that really it’s not about information deficit, it’s about power relations, and people wanting to keep economic and political power.

CBS: Huge carbon emissions cuts needed, UN climate report finds, April 4, 2022.

Democracy Now: Bill McKibben | Latest IPCC Climate Report Underscores "Fossil Fuel Is at the Root of Our Problems," April 7, 2022.

IEA: A 10-Point Plan to Cut Oil Use, March 18, 2022.

IEA: A 10-Point Plan to Reduce the European Union's Reliance on Russian Natural Gas, March 3, 2022.