IPCC Climate Report: The Crisis is Here – There’s Still Time for Meaningful Action

We live in a narrow window of time where we can take meaningful action to avert the worst impacts of climate change.

Stephen Smith | August 10, 2021 | Climate Change, Energy Policy, Extreme Weather

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2021, released this past Monday, delivers the latest on the state of global climate change. This most recent installment of the IPCC’s ongoing reporting unequivocally confirms that the climate crisis is here, and the time to act is now. Hundreds of global experts have concluded with a high degree of confidence that:

  • climate change impacts are intensifying,
  • human activity is driving climate change impacts,
  • extreme weather impacts are directly linked to climate change,
  • we still have time to avert the worst impact with meaningful action.

The report is sobering in that it concludes that we’ve reached the highest atmospheric CO2 levels in at least 2 million years, and the highest global surface temperatures in at least the last 100,000 years – with each of the last 4 decades being warmer than the one that preceded it. This messaging is especially poignant when received on the backdrop of the intense heat waves and wildfires impacting the U.S. West and other regions of the world this summer. The report concludes that human activity is unequivocally the cause of a warming planet that is driving impacts such as these fires, as well as droughts, flooding, sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and more intense storms.

Yet, the IPCC report also charts a path forward to successfully limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius – the threshold for avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. That path requires that we reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions now and transition to net zero emissions globally by 2050.

“Global warming of 1.5C and 2C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.”

The time for action is now

The clean energy tools to meet the climate challenge are at our fingertips. The alarm is now sounding and we cannot ignore the call for rapid and massive adoption of clean energy to help us move away from fossil fuels and combat the worst impacts of the climate crisis. SACE sees potential for this level of uptake through a mechanism such as a Clean Electricity Standard, and we are strongly and vocally supportive of a 100% Clean Electricity Standard or Clean Electricity Payment Program. Earlier this summer, we released a report showing that achieving 100% clean electricity was possible with several different pathways for the region’s largest utilities, and this spring, we joined more than 100 other organizations around the country in calling for this policy. Our latest blog on CES further outlines how a strong standard can reduce climate pollution while bolstering economic growth.

This is the moment to lean in and push our elected officials to stand up to protect our economy, environment, and quite literally, the world as we know it.

Take Action: Send a Letter to Members of Congress

To show your support for a strong, bold climate bill to increase clean energy and cut fossil fuels, call your Senator today using call4climate.com. I did, and it’s really easy using this tool. Tell them you want an equity-focused, aggressive approach to reduce carbon emissions NOW, at a rate that can actually help us mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

The science is clear and the message is urgent – and as Greta Thunberg said this week in response to the new report findings:

“We can still avoid the worst consequences, but not if we continue like today,
and not without treating the crisis like a crisis.”

Join us as we work to promote responsible and equitable energy choices to ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities in the Southeast and around the world. And stay tuned as we await the next IPCC report expected in March 2022 that will look at adaptation and vulnerability as well as mitigation.


Stephen Smith
Dr. Stephen A. Smith has over 35 years of experience affecting positive change for the environment. Since 1993, Dr. Smith has led the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) as…
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