The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest assessment report in August on the state of the global climate. This latest report is the strongest statement to date on the relationship between human-caused emissions and changes in global temperatures and weather patterns.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres referred to the report as “code red for humanity”, noting that “the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse‑gas emissions from fossil-fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.” The report notes:
- Temperatures will continue to rise, regardless of actions we take now;
- Deep reductions in carbon dioxide and other emissions could hold temperature increases within a 1.5 degrees Celsius limit;
- If temperatures exceed that limit, extreme weather events will become more common and more dangerous;
- Natural carbon sinks—oceans, soil and forests—will become less able to absorb extreme levels of carbon dioxide;
- Rapid escalation in technologies and strategies to reduce emissions can prevent further damage to parts of the global system, including loss of Arctic and Antarctic ice, receding glaciers and sea level rise.
The report comes before the next meeting of the parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow, and calls for action by governments, companies and individuals. Mercy Investment Services will use this report and the outcomes of COP26 as we continue to engage companies on their role in the climate crisis. We are pushing the heaviest emitting companies and industries to reduce their emissions quickly; in the past year, many of those companies, including utilities and airlines, have pledged to reach net zero by 2050. Now they must also set ambitious short- and medium-term goals.