Comments on IPCC AR6 report

Comments from climate experts on the release and findings of the IPCC AR6 report.

By Kathy Grenville

Information on this page correct as of:

Professor Joanna Haigh, former co-director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and Environment; Distinguished Research Fellow, Imperial College London:

“The UK has experienced severe flooding that has submerged roads and created havoc for hospital and transport systems, as well as unseasonable and sweltering high temperatures. It is in this context that the IPCC today publishes a report providing even greater evidence of the role of human produced greenhouse gases in causing global heating – it is ‘unequivocal’.

“Governments must rapidly introduce policies and measures to reduce emissions by around 50% over the rest of this decade to avoid an ongoing breach of the 1.5°C target, which is still possible, but only just. Key to keeping 1.5C ‘alive’ will be a marked reduction in the release of highly-potent methane emissions, which could rapidly slow temperature rise.

“The window is still open for governments to avoid the worst impacts and risks and to secure a strong outcome at COP26 just three months away – but this will depend on nations coming forward ahead of the summit to put in place robust emission reduction plans for the next decade. This window won’t remain open for much longer.”

Professor Simon Lewis, Professor of Global Change Science, University College London:

“The very careful scientific language of the new report contains a stark message: the level of devastation we face is in our collective hands. If the world slashes carbon dioxide emissions now and reduces them to net zero by 2050 we would keep the global temperature rise close to 1.5 degrees C and avoid the worst impacts.

“Cutting emissions to net zero means keeping fossil fuels in the ground, ending deforestation, and rapidly moving to using renewable energy to power the global economy. The new report significantly raises the pressure on world leaders to agree detailed and achievable plans to immediately cut emissions when they meet for the UN climate summit in Glasgow in November.”

Richard Black, Senior Associate at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU):

“Coming less than three months before COP26, this report is a huge wake-up call to all governments showing that as things stand, they are not on track to keep climate change within manageable bounds.

“The window to delivering the Paris Agreement 1.5°C limit without significant overshoot is closing fast – and missing that window will mean far greater expense in future on both unproven negative emission approaches and clearing up climate change impacts.

“COP26 presents a clear opportunity to implement credible policies in areas that will cut emissions quickly including ending coal use, restoring forests and cracking down on methane leaks – all of which also present economic opportunities.”