Geneva – Written by the world’s top climate scientists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 1 report on the Physical Science Basis, forming a part of the Sixth Assessment Report, summarises the latest scientific understanding of what’s happening to our climate system, and gives a stark warning of where we are headed if urgent action isn’t taken.

Kaisa Kosonen, Senior Political Advisor, Greenpeace Nordic said:
“While governments crawl towards curbing emissions, inch-by-inch, the climate crisis is right now claiming whole communities with wildfires, extreme flooding, and drought. The race is on, and the IPCC has just further strengthened the connection between carbon emissions and worsening climate extremes, which means that if governments don’t dig deeper than their currently weak 2030 emission-cutting targets, humanity could lose.

“We’re not going to let this report be shelved by further inaction. Instead, we’ll be taking it with us to the courts. By strengthening the scientific evidence between human emissions and extreme weather the IPCC has provided new, powerful means for everyone everywhere to hold the fossil fuel industry and governments directly responsible for the climate emergency. One only needs to look at the recent court victory secured by NGOs against Shell to realise how powerful IPCC science can be.

“This is a decisive moment for humanity so we need to act like it. Extreme weather events fuelled by carbon pollution are fiercer than ever before, but at the same time we’re making breakthroughs with solutions. With solar and wind now the cheapest way to produce new power in the majority of the world, mobility freed from oil, and finance dwindling for coal, a world free of fossil fuels is becoming possible. This is the moment to rise up, be bold and think big. We all need to accelerate the green transition while ensuring justice and protection for local communities and people paying the highest cost for climate inaction.”

Greenpeace UK’s Chief Scientist Dr Doug Parr said:
“This is not the first generation of world leaders to be warned by scientists about the gravity of the climate crisis, but they’re the last that can afford to ignore them. The increasing frequency, scale and intensity of climate disasters that have scorched and flooded many parts of the world in recent months is the result of past inaction. Unless world leaders finally start to act on these warnings, things will get much, much worse. Boris Johnson’s government should be working around the clock to make sure the Glasgow summit is a turning point in humanity’s efforts to stop catastrophic climate change. We need concrete policies to cut carbon emissions as fast as possible, phase out fossil fuels, transform our food system and deliver more cash to the countries worst hit by the climate crisis. This climate summit is a critical moment for us to halt our progress on the highway to climate hell – Johnson needs to make sure the world grabs the opportunity”

Yeb Saño, Executive Director for Greenpeace Southeast Asia said:
“The IPCC AR6 details the science of what we already know from experience about the changing climate system and the consequent devastation, especially for those communities and sectors that are most vulnerable and at the frontline of impacts. It also shows us that, unless world leaders make their commitments as strong as the science requires, we will continue to experience increasing extreme weather events and every year will be record breaking for unprecedented storms, rainfall, heatwaves, droughts, flooding and worsening conditions, such as we are experiencing now. We now see that these are affecting all of us, but frontline communities, especially in places like those in Southeast Asia, will experience more and more climate injustice if we don’t hold up to the Paris Agreement of limiting warming to 1.5°C. As the youth of today clamors: let us unite behind the science.”

The scientific consensus presented in the report adds 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 does not address the impacts 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 was an official observer to the IPCC and attended the virtual approval meeting of the WG1 report. 

See our independent brief with key takeaways from the IPCC report on Physical Science Basis (AR6 WG1) 

Experts are available for comment.

More information
Images and videos showing impacts of climate change are available from the Greenpeace Media Library.

Marie Bout, Media Advisor, Greenpeace International, [email protected], +33 6 05 98 70 42 

Greenpeace International Press Desk, [email protected], +31 20 718 2470 (24 hours)