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ClientEarth Communications

28th February 2022

Environmental justice

The latest IPCC report: a wake-up call for climate action

What is the IPCC report?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created by the United Nations in 1988 to scientifically assess and report on the scale and impacts of climate change as well as put forward potential adaptation and mitigation options.

Leading climate scientists spend five to seven years compiling and reviewing the latest data and research to produce comprehensive reports on the climate crisis. 

The assessment reports focus on three areas – the science behind what’s causing climate change; the impacts of climate change; and potential solutions and ways to cut carbon emissions. 

What does the latest IPCC report say?

The latest report, published on 28 February 2022, is the second report in the sixth assessment period and focuses on climate impacts. The key headlines show:  

- it is unequivocal that climate change has already impacted humans and nature, pushing them beyond their abilities to adapt;

- the impacts of climate change are not felt equally with approximately 3.3 billion people living in 'highly vulnerable' contexts;

- if global average temperature increases reach 1.5C, the world will see an increase in climate hazards happening simultaneously and greater risks to humans and ecosystems

What does the IPCC report mean for climate action?

The warnings of the IPCC report are another stark reminder that we must take action to cut emissions and limit global temperature rises. 

Our climate accountability lead Sophie Marjanac explains: “The latest IPCC report further confirms what people around the world are witnessing daily: the impacts of the climate crisis are happening now and getting unignorably worse. This report provides irrefutable evidence of the massive costs that come with failing to break from fossil fuels. The carbon budget clock is ticking, and everything must be done to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.” 

What are ClientEarth doing to take action?

We use the law to hold government and big business to account, so that the burden of climate change does not disproportionately affect ordinary people

In the UK, we’ve launched legal action against the UK Government over its inadequate net-zero strategy. 

Our Head of UK Kyle Lishak explains: “The current gaps in the UK’s net zero strategy risk levelling down its ambition to be a climate leader on the international stage, with huge costs for the communities bearing the brunt of climate inaction.”

In Europe, we’re taking action against fossil fuels. We intervened to bring about the end of Europe’s biggest coal plant, We’re calling out fossil fuel companies for greenwashing and challenging the flow of finance into fossil fuels.  

In Australia, we’re supporting a world-first complaint brought by eight Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owners in 2019, alleging that their Government has failed to uphold its human rights obligations and that its inaction has led to violations of their rights to culture, life and family as climate change wreaks havoc on their low-lying homes.