The world’s political leaders must heed the dramatic warning that climate scientists have delivered
The sixth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was published against a glowing backdrop of orange skies, as vast wildfires sweep through Greece and California. In western Germany, thousands of homes remain without running water or electricity following the devastating floods of July. In Yakutsk in Siberia – the coldest winter city on earth – residents were warned last month to stay inside as forest fires filled the air with toxic smoke, following heatwaves that began in the spring.
Eight years in the making, authored by the world’s leading climate scientists and approved by 195 national governments, the report confirmed the meaning of the evidence before our eyes: the cumulative impact of human activity since the Industrial Revolution is “unequivocally” causing rapid and potentially catastrophic changes to the climate. The future that environmental scientists foresaw with alarm, when the IPCC produced its first report three decades ago, has arrived.