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💬 "Making Sense of the IPCC Report, Climate Change 2022"

Energy 360°

Photo by Marcin Jozwiak / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Joseph Majkut
Guest: Maarten van Aalst | Director | Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre
Category: 💬 Opinion | IPCC Report

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[2:15] “[The new IPCC Report] has been a wake up call, even for scientists quite closely involved in this and quite familiar with the underlying literature to see it all coming together. And I think the big overarching message is that all of the risks that we already knew about are coming at us faster than we thought before. So at the same level of warming, we're more concerned, we already see more impacts than in […] 2014 [in] the previous big assessment. […] That includes all the big extremes that we've seen changing around the world, the bushfires in Australia and California, the extreme heat in Canada last year, the flooding in the heart of Europe, Germany, Belgium, that killed over 200 people.”

[3:30] “We're also seeing limits to adaptation. […] And that, of course, underlines the need to limit the warming to tolerable levels as well. And we're seeing the risks get more complex. […] For instance, first fire and then a couple of months later, an extreme rainfall event that then leads to landslides after those hillsides have already burnt. So that's two hazards after one another. We're also seeing compounding risks where human systems have already become more vulnerable, because of several shocks on top of one another, and then are hit harder by the next climate event, because people are just left in more vulnerable positions.”

[5:01] “[It’s] a pretty bleak picture in some ways, but also, I think, a picture of hope, in the sense that the report also tells us a lot about how we can manage those risks better. Risks are very much shaped by how we develop. So we are still putting more people and more assets in really quite exposed places where the climate risks are rising, we're actually building cities in these pretty dangerous places without paying enough attention, even to the current climate, let alone how it's getting worse. […] So the report shows that there's a lot to shape in the near future that will determine how high those risks get. But also, as the warming gets too much, it will become hard to cope in some places. And some ecosystems will at some point be gone, including the services that those ecosystems provide to humans. But also in some places, it will become increasingly difficult to survive, particularly for already vulnerable groups.”

[12:49] “In the past, maybe 20 years ago, scientists were very conservative […] and essentially said, we can only say something about changing extremes if we have a change in the pattern of extremes over a 30 year period and compare that to similar pattern of extremes over a similar 30 year period, 100 years ago. By now we actually have statistical tools by which we can distill the trends in extremes for specific events that are happening now. And it allows us to speak to the reality of what many people are already experiencing as […] extremes they've never experienced before.”

[15:15] “There's not one number about the aggregate economic cost [of climate change]. We're fairly certain it is a mix of positive and negative effects at the moment. So there's benefits to agriculture in far northern regions. It's gradually going to get bad for everyone and certainly the aggregate is quickly getting worse. […] The exact number is harder, actually, even though we've got so much more knowledge than 10 years ago. And it's partly because […] the huge complexity of how those risks play out often in very nonlinear ways that aren't just not just not captured by the models.”

[21:36] “There's a lot of documented risk management solutions that are shown to work. So the most iconic example is early warning systems. Being able to get out of harm's way or move stuff out of harm's way, when a bad extreme is coming is one of the most effective, super cost effective, but also in a humanitarian way […] proven measure.”

[38:52] “The responses to climate change themselves are a new category of risk that we're concerned about. […] I think this is going to be a major theme also in […] the next assessment cycle that we'll be embarking on in a few years. […] One category of this is so called maladaptation. […] It's the inadvertent rising of risks when we're trying to manage one climate risk, and we're aggravating another one. […] Water management might be one example. You're trying to be able to get rid of a lot of water to deal with more extreme rainfall. But actually, you're aggravating your challenge once you've got to drought.”

[40:01] “We're also seeing interactions between mitigation, so greenhouse gas reduction solutions and adaptation challenges. And an example would be biomass production that can threaten biodiversity but can also compete with food production. So as food production is already threatened in a more volatile climate, we're now also competing with that food production by our efforts to produce biomass that reduces warming, […] but if at the same time aggravates the climate risk theory coming at us, we may be aggravating other problems.”

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 44 min | 🗓️ 03/21/2022
✅ Time saved: 42 min

Additional Links:
IPCC Report: “Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”