Monaco is hosting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 51) from September 20-23, to approve a new UN report that outlines the impacts and risks to nature and humans of dramatically changing oceans, polar regions and glaciers. The report will underscore the crisis we face, with already seen climate impacts increasing in scale, frequency and intensity.
The science presented in the report is expected to further underline that climate, people and nature are fundamentally linked. Efforts to mitigate climate change and halt nature loss must go hand in hand, and be fully integrated with climate adaptation.
Produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN body responsible for assessing the science related to climate change, this and other IPCC reports are the authoritative source of information on climate change, and underpin the international community’s understanding of climate change and related issues. The report will add to knowledge on how climate change is affecting ocean, coastal, polar and mountain ecosystems, and is also expected to examine how nature and society must respond to the risks this poses to achieve climate-resilient development.
This report, as well as other recent IPCC reports, is expected to inject urgency into the process of nations’ increasing ambition in their national climate plans.
Dr Stephen Cornelius, chief adviser on climate change for WWF-UK and head of WWF’s delegation in Monaco, said: “We already see accelerated impacts of climate change across the globe and are at a point where we simply cannot ignore the warning signs from our planet any longer. No matter what any sceptic might say, the risks we face in the future are real and, if left unchecked will have disastrous consequences for millions of people and for the planet’s most vulnerable ecosystems.
Peter Winsor, Director of WWF’S Arctic Programme, said: “This report will make it very clear that climate change is causing irreversible change and uncertainty for the polar regions. Sea ice is the rainforest of the polar regions. Many polar species rely upon sea ice and that habitat is disappearing. The rapid pace of climate change is also threatening the livelihoods and cultural existence of communities living in the Arctic. Moreover, this is not a localised threat—the world depends on the cooling benefits provided by the polar regions.
“Keeping warming to 1.5℃ globally is absolutely critical. Local communities, governments, policy makers and experts all need to come together to protect these special places and the life they support. We have a chance now through immediate and direct action to decide what the future of our unique polar regions will be—and how much of our cryosphere we can retain.”
John Tanzer, leader of WWF’s global oceans program, said: “This report should erase any doubts about the peril that climate change poses for the health of the ocean and, as a consequence, for human well-being. From coral reefs and mangroves to fish populations and coastal habitats, climate change and human pressures are rapidly destroying the natural capital that supports the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people around the world. There can no longer be talk of sustainable development without the massive scaling-up of the restoration of the ocean’s own natural defenses against the ravages of climate change. We must accelerate action in accordance with the Paris agreement,build healthier oceans and turn to nature-based solutions with unprecedented resolve.”