IPCC Sixth Assessment Report on Climate Change: Putting adaptation and resilience in focus
Today the IPCC has published the second part of its Sixth Assessment Report on Climate Change, which is focused on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. It comes following the release of the first part of the report in August 2021, which established a global consensus on the role of humans in global warming and the rapid transformation required to address it, and is likely to be the last cycle of IPCC reports in this decade.
The conclusions reached by IPCC’s Working Group II, who put together the report, highlight the widespread adverse impacts of human-induced climate change and the risks that people and ecosystems will face if urgent action is not taken. The report reiterates disproportionate impact of climate change for some of the most vulnerable people in society, with current patterns continuing to increase their exposure to climate hazards.
The report notes that while there have been improvements in adaptation planning and implementation, that progress has been inconsistent and considerable gaps remain. Where many approaches prioritise reducing the most near-term challenges, the opportunity for significant, transformational adaptation is often missed. It calls for the mobilisation of financial resources and political commitments to create an environment in which more ambitious progress can be achieved.
In response, Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO, IIGCC commented: “Today’s IPCC report shows once again there is no time to wait; we must see urgent and accelerated action from the public and private sectors, including companies and investors, to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also facilitating the adaptation required to protect against the increasing physical risks posed by climate change to people and the planet.”
“The IPCC report paints a particularly bleak picture of the physical risks caused by climate change and the prospects of future extreme weather events. Institutional investors, with a fiduciary duty to manage risk, will need to assess and manage these risks on an alarmingly frequent basis – but for now, despite warnings from the likes of the IPCC, we are not seeing climate risks being adequately or materially factored into company valuations or long-term company strategies.”
“Today’s IPCC report is a further wake up call for companies to demonstrate that they are adequately addressing physical climate risks and opportunities. For investors not already making their expectations on physical climate risks clear to companies, as set out by IIGCC and supported by investors representing USD 10 trillion in collective assets in November 2021, today’s report also serves as a warning. Without this detail and transparency, investors cannot establish a true picture of their investment portfolio risk.”
“Investors must also urgently hold companies that are contributing to the effects of climate change accountable, particularly those relating to the fossil fuel industries. Specifically, investors working through Climate Action 100+ must accelerate engagement and seek net zero aligned transition plans immediately. This needs to be needs to be backed up by a particular focus on implementation and evidence of progress.”
“Governments and policy makers have had another shot across the bows, with the IPCC report highlighting the continued lack of priority towards climate mitigation and resilience. Only several months on from COP26, we must ensure that words are followed up through action, which includes implementing policies that will drive change at scale.”
For more information and to get involved with IIGCC’s work on adaptation and resilience, contact Danielle Boyd.