As 2021 shapes up to be yet another year marked by deadly floods, heat waves, devastating wildfires and record droughts, world governments will soon be convening to receive a new stark climate crisis warning by the scientific community.

Written by top climate scientists from around the world, the much anticipated report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scheduled for publication on 9 August after a virtual approval session, will summarise the latest scientific understanding on what’s happening to our climate system, and where we are heading, depending on the scale and speed of action we take.

Greenpeace Aotearoa is calling on the New Zealand Government to come to the table with a commitment to significantly reduce agricultural emissions.

“What was once seen as a future threat is now here and it’s rapidly getting worse. The devastating floods, heatwaves and droughts are not a surprise. Had Governments acted on the first warnings of the IPCC more than thirty years ago, we would be in a far better place today,” says Greenpeace Aotearoa climate campaigner, Amanda Larsson.

“Jacinda Ardern has said a lot of good things about climate change, but has not yet put in place any significant measures to actually reduce emissions, particularly from our biggest polluter – dairying.”

The 26th ‘United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties’ (COP26) will be hosted later this year in Glasgow, UK.

“At the COP26, the onus is on political leaders to heed scientists’ warning and commit to the necessary changes that will heal the climate, restore nature and ensure a safe and stable future for our children and grandchildren.

“Countries like New Zealand, which have the freedom to change, have a responsibility to come to the table with ambitious and visionary plans of action.

“In much the same way that we were one of the first countries to end new offshore oil and gas exploration, New Zealand has the chance to pioneer a new and better way of growing food. Regenerative organic farming works with nature – instead of against it – to build soil health, store water and carbon, bring back wildlife and make farms more resilient in the face of extreme weather.

“To make good on her nuclear-free moment, Ardern must pluck up the courage to actually reduce agricultural emissions, by banning synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, banning imports of supplementary feed like palm kernel expeller and back a shift to regenerative organic farming.

“We can have a thriving countryside with plenty of jobs and strong communities, as well as abundant nature and clean water. Forward-thinking regenerative organic farmers are already restoring nature while they grow good food and earning a premium for their products too,” says Larsson.

The scientific consensus presented in the report will add pressure on the discussions on how to accelerate countries’ action in line with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C warming limit – with new and revised 2030 commitments expected from leaders at the UN climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021.

The report is expected to show, among other things: 

  • How and why the climate has changed to date, and how it could change in the future under different possible futures (scenarios), with updated estimates e.g. for sea-level rise through to 2100 and beyond (2300).
  • An update on how sensitive the climate is to increasing amounts of greenhouse gases.
  • Improved understanding of changes in extreme events and attributing these events to human influence. 
  • A greater emphasis on regional climate change and information relevant for regional risk assessment, amplified by an interactive online regional atlas. 

The report will not address the impacts and risks of climate change to humans, nor ways to mitigate climate change and its impacts, as those are topics that will be covered by the remaining three parts of the IPCC 6th Assessment Report, due to be finalised and published next year.

Greenpeace is an official observer to the IPCC and will be attending the virtual approval meeting of the WG1 report. Experts are available for comment.
The approval meeting will start with an opening ceremony at 10:00 a.m. (CEST) on Monday 26 July 2021. The event will be streamed live, with no registration needed. The rest of the approval meeting (from 26 July to 6 August 2021) will be closed to the public and media.

For more information:

Official IPCC fact sheet of the 6th Assessment Report
Official IPCC media advisory and registration page for the Working Group 1 report launch