Press release: 28 February 2022
ClientEarth responds to latest IPCC report on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today released the Working Group II report on the climate crisis, covering impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. ClientEarth lawyers say this report provides further incontrovertible evidence of the climate crisis, including event attribution science, that could form the basis of further climate litigation.
Sophie Marjanac, senior lawyer and climate accountability lead, said: “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.
“While, the science has been irrefutable for some time, government and corporate actors must now show the urgency required for the IPCC’s warning to be heeded. This is a wake up-call that the carbon budget clock is ticking, and everything must be done to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“As citizens increasingly turn to the courts to seek climate justice, we can expect these findings, and the attribution science that underpin it, to provide irrefutable evidence of the massive costs that come with failing to break from fossil fuels.”
Anaïs Berthier, senior lawyer and head of EU affairs, said: “The dark warnings of the IPCC report are another stark reminder that we must slash Europe’s reliance on all fossil fuels, including gas, and work to secure energy independence in the EU.
“The energy transition is an absolute priority in the fight to stop climate change, to reach the EU’s own net-zero targets, and to ensure EU energy security. It is time for EU leaders to take the blinkers off and stop driving funds to gas projects across Europe – recent developments show it is by no means a sustainable investment and should not have been labelled as such in the EU Taxonomy.”
Kyle Lischak, ClientEarth's head of UK, said: “This IPCC report is another blunt reminder that COP26 in Glasgow last year was not job done. The UK Government must not shy away now, but instead work with even more urgency with other governments and the private sector to deliver more ambition and more action.
"The carbon budget clock is ticking, and the UK Government needs to show that its proposed measures will deliver the necessary emissions cuts. As the Climate Change Committee has advised, there is scope for much stronger policy on insulating homes, supporting sustainable transport, promoting climate-friendly food and farming, moving to a low-waste economy, and managing aviation emissions.
“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.”
Notes to editors:
- The report will contain a synthesis of the relatively new but crucial branch of climate science – probabilistic event attribution – where scientists calculate the exact way in which global heating has changed the severity or frequency of a weather event such as a severe storm.
- The findings of probabilistic event attribution studies have been irrefutable for some time, particularly those on extreme heat, where the human-caused signal is so strong that scientists are often finding that these events simply would not have happened in a world with lower GHG concentrations in the atmosphere. The record breaking summer heat in Canada last year being a clear example.
ClientEarth is a non-profit organisation that uses the law to create systemic change that protects the Earth for – and with – its inhabitants. We are tackling climate change, protecting nature and stopping pollution, with partners and citizens around the globe. We hold industry and governments to account, and defend everyone’s right to a healthy world. From our offices in Europe, Asia and the USA we shape, implement and enforce the law, to build a future for our planet in which people and nature can thrive together.