What the Latest IPCC Report Means for You

Split Rock Lighthouse above the frozen Lake Superior with a pink sunset.

On August 9, 2021, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report to the public detailing the state of our climate and future projections. This project was a collaboration with 230 authors from 65 different countries. The report, which includes analytics from over 14,000 scientific studies, has a few main takeaways that everyone should know about.

These main points, summarized by Henry Fountain of The New York Times, are as follows:

  • Humans activity has increased global emissions and therefore directly influenced global warming
  • Climate change research continues to develop and improve with new technology which can help create more accurate forecasts
  • Even if immediate action is taken to curb emissions, it will not be enough to stop the next 30 years worth of climate change effects we are already experiencing
  • This is the fastest our climate has changed in the last 2 million years
  • There is still a chance that we can lower emissions enough to curb the drastic and life-threatening effects of climate change

The IPCC 2021 report confirms without a doubt that human activity has influenced the warming of our world. Droughts, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires like the Greenwood Fire in Northern Minnesota, among other effects, will continue to increase in frequency and intensity over the next few decades. If we don’t take immediate climate action, we will not be able to lower our global emissions enough to control these changes. 

This report comes just a few months shy of COP 26, which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland. The Conference of the Parties brings together leaders from almost every country to discuss climate issues and create collaborative action. The COP 26 has four main goals: to secure the global commitment to net zero emissions by mid-century; to adapt infrastructure to protect against climate change threats; to organize the climate financial sector; to work together to finalize rules from the Paris Agreement. 

We are currently off track from the agreed-upon amount of only 2C of increasing global temperature rise by the end of the century. Right now, we’re projected to reach 3C by the end of this century and already scientists estimate the global temperature will increase by 1.5C within the next 12 years. These numbers can be confusing, but they spell out the need for urgent action to ensure human survival. We need to change now so that we might still have the opportunity to save ourselves. 

So to reiterate what you need to know about climate change: 

  • Experts Agree
  • It’s Real
  • It’s Us (human-caused)
  • It’s Bad (for people & planet)
  • It’s Solvable

Here’s how you can help. First, make sure that you are registered to vote if able and educate yourself on climate policy. Next, find out who your representatives are and contact them to encourage them to support specific climate change policies that you are passionate about. You can also get involved in your school and community. Look around you and question where improvements can be made and reach out to your network about them. Change won’t happen until we do.


The climate crisis has been felt for years now, and it’s currently not getting better. With these vast changes to our climate and communities comes stress, fear, and grief. We have all experienced or will experience loss from climate change, and it can be overwhelming. If you need a safe place to share your concerns, come to Climate, Cocoa, and Cookies. We meet every Tuesday from 7-8pm at the Bagley Outdoor Classroom. Everyone is welcome.