VIRTUALSPEECH DELIVERED BY: Inger AndersenEVENT: Opening remarks at the 55th Session of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and 12th session of Working Group II of the IPCC
Mr Hoesung Lee, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Mr Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
Working Group Chairs and Vice-Chairs, and the 270 scientists from 67 countries that are contributing to this important work.
Let me begin by congratulating Working Group II for staying on track to complete the 6th Assessment Report (AR6) by September 2022. This is no mean feat, given the complex and ongoing challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. You have navigated this space with aplomb, now moving into your second virtual approval session.
Colleagues, the work of the IPCC underpins climate action, as we saw at COP26. Working Group I’s report on the physical science kept up the pressure on world leaders. We saw its relevance in many statements from COP26 delegates and in the final decision taken at Glasgow.
Now it is the turn of Working Group II to lay out the latest evidence on how past and future changes to Earth’s climate system impact life on our planet. This report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability will integrate more strongly across the natural, social and economic sciences. It will highlight the role of social justice and indigenous knowledge. It will strengthen the science on the links between biodiversity loss and climate change. Such a wider focus only makes the report more relevant.
Colleagues, we know that the world has heard the scientific evidence that you have presented and will present. But acknowledging the evidence is only the first step. We know from UNEP’s Adaptation Gap Report 2021 that the growth in climate impacts is far outpacing our efforts to adapt to them. We need nations, cities, business, investors and every actor to turn this step into a sprint if we are to keep 1.5 degrees within reach and help communities and nations adapt to climate impacts.
So, the IPCC, UNEP and others must continue to drive home the message. This is something that we will do at the upcoming second segment of the fifth UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) – where items on the agenda such as a possible global agreement on plastic pollution could make a big difference to climate change. I am sure that you will do the same, by informing COP27 through the Working Group II report and through the outreach that you carry out.
Colleagues, knowledge on climate impact, adaptation and vulnerability is essential to strengthen international action for climate action, nature and a pollution free planet – which is the core theme of UNEA 5.2. So, this report will be crucial. To help world leaders shape responses to climate impacts already locked in. To help them prepare for future impacts. To warn the world of the dire consequences that further inaction on cutting emissions would bring. And, fundamentally, to address the climate anxiety many people are feeling by sparking real systemic transformation that keeps our planet cool.
So, I commend the key contributors to this report. The 270 authors. The co-chairs and vice chairs of Working Group II. The Chair of the IPCC. The government of Germany, the secretariat, the technical support unit and, of course, the WMO. What you do over the next few months will undoubtedly help to steer the world onto the right climate track. I wish you luck.TOPICS