Seize the Window of Opportunity!
“The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal: Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”
Still, let’s be optimistic and find reason to believe in mankind’s ability to salvage life; for beyond its blunt “very high confidence” final conclusion, the latest IPCC report does see a “window of opportunity” that would allow for a better future. But If…, and only if… “an inclusive governance, as well as investment aligned with climate resilient development, plus access to appropriate technology with rapidly scaled-up finance, and capacity building of governments at all levels, the private sector and civil society enable climate resilient development.” If that does not make for a clear call to action, then what does!
Failing that, the report warns that “climate change impacts and risks are becoming increasingly complex and more difficult to manage. Multiple climate hazards will occur simultaneously, and multiple climatic and non-climatic risks will interact, resulting in compounding overall risk and risks cascading across sectors and regions”, and calls for concerted international negotiations and action.
Now or never is the time to recognize the interdependence of climate, ecosystems and biodiversity, and human societies, and the integration of knowledge more strongly across the natural, ecological, social and economic sciences than any time before as the report insists that climate change impacts and risks as well as adaptation are set against concurrently unfolding non-climatic global trends e.g., biodiversity loss, overall unsustainable consumption of natural resources, land and ecosystem degradation, rapid urbanization, human demographic shifts, social and economic inequalities… and a pandemic.
For the climate skeptics that, here and there, are in a position of power and are pursuing their policies that can only make things worse, it is worth reminding that the IPCC technical reports are authoritative as they derive their credibility principally from an extensive, transparent, and iterative peer review process that is considered far more exhaustive than that associated with a single peer-reviewed publication in a scientific journal. Also worth reminding is the fact that, although neutral and policy-relevant, and a key input into the international negotiations to tackle climate change, the reports are not policy-prescriptive.
The 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 27) which will take place from 7th – 18th November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, has its work cut out for it.
Likewise, each and every one of us!
Download the full IPCC Climate Change 2022 report here.