I went to an event by the Royal Society about scientific findings on climate change called: Climate Updates – What have we learned since the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Assessment Report? My knowledge about the IPCC was limited to the fact that I knew they were providing the scientific evidence for climate change. So, I decided to expand my knowledge and share it with you here including the results of the event I went to.
The IPCC was founded in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with the task to provide policymakers with assessments of the scientific basis for climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation. The assessments are written and reviewed by several thousand scientists voluntary assuring independancy from political decision-makers.
Considering the purpose of IPCC, the event focused on physical climate (what changes we can expect?), physical impact (such as sea level, extreme weather), impacts on biology (on land and in the ocean) and impacts on human health. Expected changes in the physical climate are unlikely to be less than the set 2°C target and will potentially reach up to 8°C for different scenarios as the climate sensitivity to CO2 doubles. The rise of sea level is one of the numerous consequences of climate change, driven by the expansion of water through heating up forced by increasing temperatures; and the melting of glaciers and Greenland and Antarctic ice. The melting of Arctic ice will cause a release of methane hydrate which has a tremendous impact on the Amazon rainforest. Direct impacts of a changing climate on the human health was the last topic at this event and the following figure gives an overview of possible effects to human health.
A representative from the British Virgin Islands gave the closing remarks and explained to the audience how storm had hit them, destroyed about 90% of their livelihood and is likely to return more frequently. These closing remarks left the audience including myself astonished and feared at the same time but willing to drive change forward.
Eva von Schönebeck is studying Forest and Wood Science at the Technical University of Munich. She is passionate about international forestry conservation and agroforestry, as well as IFSA of course. Her COP crush is also from Germany.