Royal Society responds to Working Group II of IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report

28 February 2022

Responding to the publication of Working Group II of the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report, Professor Eric Wolff, Chair of the Royal Society’s Climate Change Working Party, said:

"The IPCC WGII report lays out a stark reality: Both nature and human systems are already being pushed beyond their limits by the effects of our changing climate, threatening lives and livelihoods.

"The Sixth Assessment provides significant evidence that these effects are being felt across the globe, from our coasts to cities. While we are beginning to adapt to these effects by improving infrastructure and warning systems, the IPCC warns that adaptation is inadequate for the risks we face and too often at the expense of natural systems.

"The Royal Society's work on the climate interlinkages of our food systems, landscapes, human health and low carbon technologies, has begun to lay out the evidence to ensure policy makers can balance these trade-offs in an informed manner.

"Alongside the science academies of the G7, the Society has called for the development of new approaches to valuing nature and biodiversity.

"However the IPCC report is clear that the biggest impacts of climate change are falling on the groups least well equipped to adapt to them. We need to see climate resilient development that is equitable and just. Coordination, collaboration, and interdisciplinary research is essential for maximising the many benefits of adaptation strategies worldwide. These include improved data sharing for modelling of climate hazards.

"The IPCC leaves no doubt that impacts get worse and our ability to adapt reduces for every increment of warming. Therefore, efforts to minimise the risks rely on rapidly reducing the emissions that cause change. As a first step, the Society is calling for every country to develop technology and research roadmaps for reaching net zero, this should also look at where investment can help scale-up technologies from lab bench to deployment.

"Alongside other Fellows of the Royal Society and international experts, I will be chairing a conference in April this year with leading scientific voices to discuss the findings of the Sixth Assessment Report, the lessons for the UK and priorities for future research and investment."

Explore more of the Royal Society's key work on climate change.