Development news

Climate change: a threat to human wellbeing and health of the planet, says IPCC

February 28, 2022

Human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, despite efforts to reduce the risks. People and ecosystems have been hard hit, said scientists in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released today on February 28.

About the IPCC: History, working groups and Reports

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide political leaders with periodic scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. In the same year, the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by the WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC. It has 195 member states.

The Working Group II (WGII) contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) assesses the impacts of climate change, looking at ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities at global and regional levels. It also reviews vulnerabilities and the capacities and limits of the natural world and human societies to adapt to climate change.

The report builds on the WGII contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the IPCC, three Special Reports, and the Working Group I (WGI) contribution to the AR6 cycle. The Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group II report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability was approved on Sunday, February 27 2022, by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that was held over two weeks starting on February 14.

“This report shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our wellbeing and a healthy planet”.

Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC

Report 2022 numbers and structure

A call for nomination of authors was sent to IPCC member governments on 15 September 2017. 270 experts from 67 countries were invited to take on their roles in the WGII contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report. The Report relies on 675 contributing authors, and on more than 34,000 scientific papers.

They assessed the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and human communities at global and regional levels, their vulnerabilities, adaptation capacities and limits as well as options for achieving climate-resilient development. The Report results in 18 Chapters, 7 Cross-Chapter Papers, and 2 Annexes.

To avoid mounting loss of life, biodiversity and infrastructure, ambitious, accelerated action is required to adapt to climate change, at the same time as making rapid, deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. During today’s Press conference launch, Antonio Guterres said:

“The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and the health of the planet. Coal and other fossil fuels are choking humanity”.

António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General

Text adapted from original IPCC Press Release‘s statements and report launch.