One of the 2018 California wildfires.
Wildfire One of the 2018 California wildfires. © Ben Jiang /TNC Photo Contest 2019

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Media Statement: IPCC AR6 makes the case for urgent climate action clearer than ever before

As extreme weather events afflict significant swathes of the planet, Sixth Assessment Report compiles the evidence to inform urgent action at COP26

As humanity approaches a make-or-break crossroads in the battle to arrest the accelerating climate emergency, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – one of the world’s most influential and respected scientific bodies – today published the summary version of its long-awaited Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).

A rigorously objective review of all available evidence compiled by hundreds of scientists working in lockstep with governments across 195 countries, this report is designed to equip world leaders with the most authoritative and up to date summary of the state of the Earth’s climate, ahead of November’s UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow.

Commenting on the launch of IPCC AR6, Professor Katharine Hayhoe – Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy – said:

“Scientists have predicted the likelihood of accelerating climate change for more than a century now – yet too often their warnings have been disregarded. My hope is that the rigour, transparency, and unprecedented urgency of this latest IPCC report will make it simply impossible to ignore.

“This last year has proven that climate change is no longer a distant threat; its effects are happening right now, in real-time. From record-breaking heatwaves and severe droughts, to catastrophic wildfires and devastating floods, climate-driven threats are increasingly part of our daily headlines. And we can no longer assume that citizens of more affluent and secure countries like Canada, Germany, Japan and the United States will be able to ride-out the worst excesses of a rapidly destabilising climate, even as those in more vulnerable latitudes suffer.

“These latest IPCC conclusions couldn’t speak any louder. It’s clear we’re all in the same boat – facing a challenge that will affect every one of us within our lifetimes, not to mention future generations and most other life on Earth. The need to act collectively and decisively has never been more urgent.

“We already have the foundation to act, thanks to the Paris Agreement. With COP26 in Glasgow looming, it’s past time to cease the political horse-trading and nationalistic posturing. We need to mobilise our collective ingenuity and resourcefulness against a scale of threat unprecedented in human history.

“Where can we start? Almost everywhere: accelerating the transition to clean energy; reforming our most environmentally-damaging activities; and recalibrating financial flows to accelerate the economic transition. It’s also essential to fully acknowledge and embrace the contribution that nature can make in helping us avoid the worst-case scenarios, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation.

“At this critical time, the IPCC’s latest recommendations provide the final impetus needed towards affirmative and collaborative action that leaves nobody behind on the road towards a safer and more secure climate future.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries and territories: 38 by direct conservation impact and 34 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.