IPCC’s Landmark Report: Climate Change is Well Underway

Climate Change is well underway and many of the physical changes observed globally have baked in forces that will create increasingly worsening conditions for decades or centuries to come. This is among many findings reported by the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report’s Working Group 1 report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. More than 200 scientist-authors reviewed, aggregated and then distilled down the findings from 14,000 peer-reviewed papers to produce the most comprehensive report on the physical state of the planet in the IPCC’s 30-year history, clocking in at 13 distinct chapters totally 1,300 pages. These pages and each line of findings were then reviewed, vetted and approved by the scientific representatives of 195 nations, which itself reflects stunning concensus among nations about how bad things are—even if agreement about what to do about the problem is harder to come by. The briefest of summaries issued in conjunction with the full report is the Headline Statements from the Summary for Policymakers, which has 14 top-level statements synthesized from the Summary for Policymakers (SPM), which is itself 39 pages long. The SPM provides a highlevel summary of the understanding of the current state of the climate, including how it is changing and the role of human influence, the state of knowledge about possible climate futures, climate information relevant to regions and sectors, and limiting humaninduced climate change. IPCC reports can be very difficult to read because they cover a range of findings that are reported as either statements of fact or which, because of the difficulty of ascertaining truth with respect to many findings, are thus notated with an assessed level of confidence using pre-set calibration language. Nevertheless, the number 1 finding is:

It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred.

Read the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report’s Working Group 1 report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, released August 9, 2021.