IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

On August 29th, Agence France-Presse (AFP) released a summary of a leaked draft of a forthcoming new Report from the United Nations. It will be the third from the IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) issued in the last 12 months. It is titled “The Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.” A final copy was circulated amongst UN member nations in June and is now due for its release later this month.

The prior IPCC Reports were:

In addition, the UN’s IPBES (the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services also released a Reportwhich addressed the accelerating and tragic loss of biodiversity across the planet.

The new IPCC Report purportedly focuses on the implications of the climate crisis on Mother Earth’s oceans and cryosphere (i.e., the water currently in frozen). It completes the quartet of UN reports by detailing the implications of failing to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5º Celsius on the oceans and cryosphere.

Per AFP, “the same oceans that nourished human evolution are poised to unleash misery on a global scale unless the carbon pollution destabilizing Earth’s marine environment is brought to heel.” Considering that the IPCC has been accused of being too conservative in the past, this is a dire warning indeed.

Per Landscape News, the Report warns about a “hundred-fold or more increase in the damage caused by superstorms, and hundreds of millions of people displaced by rising seas.” They quote AFP in their reporting, as does Common Dreams as they indicate that “without deep cuts to man made emissions, at least 30 percent of the northern hemisphere’s surface permafrost could melt by century’s end, unleashing billions of tones of carbon and accelerating global warming even more.” Common Dreams then further quotes AFP: “The Big Four (US, China, India, the EU) – accounting for nearly 60 percent of global fossil fuel-based emissions – all face devastating ocean- and ice-related impacts, but none seem prepared just announce more ambitious goals for purging carbon from their economies.”

AFP quoted noted climatologist Michael Mann in their report: “There is a pervasive thread in the US right now promoted by techno-optimists who think we can engineer our way out of this problem. But, the US is not ready for a metre of sea level rise.”

It appears that the new Report will be eye opening and a further warning of what lies ahead unless transnational action is taken to slow the rate of fossil fuel emissions into the atmosphere. 

Personally, I believe that the UN needs to pursue aggressive legal action against the Big Four at The Hague, given that any aggressive action in the UN would be vetoed. 

I’ve linked each of the sources I used so you’ll be able to read them in detail if you so choose.