Royal Society responds to Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

09 August 2021

Responding to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, Professor Eric Wolff, Royal Society Research Professor of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, and Chair of the Royal Society’s Climate Change Working Party, said:

"The IPCC report leaves no doubt that climate change is happening and that it's due to human influence. 

"Compared to previous reports, we now have little room to manoeuvre if we are to cap warming at 1.5°C and avoid the worst consequences of climate change. 

"With global temperatures already 1.1°C above preindustrial levels, significant reductions in CO2 are needed by 2030, on the way to achieving 'net zero' by 2050.

"The assessment that extreme heatwaves, of the sort dominating front pages around the world, are more frequent and more intense as a result of human emissions should be a stark message to policy makers as they prepare for the COP26 summit in Glasgow later this year.

"Preventing further devastating impacts requires a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. 

"The Royal Society, along with global science academies, has been calling on world leaders to produce evidence-based roadmaps for investing in net-zero technologies and policies to achieve this. While recognising the real and present danger of climate change is essential, the focus must now be on action to reduce carbon emissions.

"These roadmaps need to identify which technologies are ready to deploy now, which need development and which further research. The Roadmaps must identify the fastest and best value for money route to net zero. Furthermore, support for developing countries and those most affected by the extreme impacts of climate change is needed to reduce their emissions and build resilient infrastructure to cope with these effects."

Read more about the Royal Society's work on climate change.