As we’ve discussed before on The Optimist Daily, the newest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is far from reassuring. It illustrates that the planet is warming faster than expected and without immediate action, we will face extreme consequences. However, there are some action-inducing and perhaps even hopeful notes to the report.
The report was unanimous
No IPCC report in history has ever been unanimous. While this does demonstrate that humans are without a doubt warming the planet to dangerous levels with emissions-producing activities, it also means that more countries than ever are on board with changing our course. Many countries who previously were on the fence about climate action have wholeheartedly signed on to the report.
We can potentially get warming under control
Previous research has indicated that even if all greenhouse gas emissions were to stop today, we would face decades of warming from those we have already emitted. The new report finds that the case may not be as severe as we thought. While we are a long way from stopping emissions, if we do manage to, the findings show that warming would even out fairly quickly. We need to get emissions levels down to pre-industrial levels if we want to truly be out of the woods, but these findings show the positive impact of even small actions.
More people are becoming climate aware
The release of the IPCC report during a summer where it seems like half the world is on fire and the other half is flooding made an impact on people who are beginning to see the implications of climate change in their own backyards. The report was a sobering lesson for many that we need climate action immediately and was effective at convincing many people who were previously apathetic about the issue that there is no time to spare to save our planet.