IPCC SR15 current and stabilized warmingThe IPCC today announced the approval of the "Summary for Policymakers" of its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. The full report will soon be released in final form, pending small changes that arose from the consideration of the Summary for Policymakers.

According to the report, limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society: "Limiting warming to 1.5°C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes," said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III. 

The report captures the current state of science and was produced by all three IPCC Working Groups (that is, on the physical science basis of climate change; on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and on mitigation of climate change). It also includes findings on the added benefit of maintaining global warming at a level of 1.5°C when compared with higher levels: "Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals," said Priyardarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III. 

As laid out in an earlier WCRP news article last week, WMO Chief Scientist and Research Director Pavel Kabat attended the IPCC meeting where its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C was considered. There, Kabat specifically mentioned the role of WCRP in convening the global research community, both to advance our understanding of fundamental processes and to develop and continuously improve climate models. WCRP activities such as the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project are an important underpinning to climate model runs that support the IPCC reporting process. 

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), co-sponsor of both the IPCC and WCRP, released an accompanying press statement, with WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas stating: “Climate change adaptation is no longer an option, it is a necessity. This report makes it clear that the longer we delay, the more difficult and costly it will be. WMO is intensifying efforts to further strengthen early warning systems to protect lives in the face of more extreme events. Improved climate services are helping to increase resilience in our food and health systems, urban and coastal planning, energy and infrastructure and water management.”

The report on global warming of 1.5°C is accessible on the IPCC homepage. It is the latest in a series of Special Reports published on particular topics that since 1994 have supplemented the regular IPCC general Assessment Reports. In the decision text for the Paris Agreement, the UNFCCC had invited the IPCC to produce such a Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, for which the IPCC now approved the Summary for Policymakers.