ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published their sixth assessment report, which finds humans are causing the globe to warm rapidly.

The IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change, and is made up of 230+ scientists from over 60 countries. Broken into three Working Groups and a Task Force, the IPCC provides regular assessments of the facts behind climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for mitigation.  

This report was put together by Working Group 1, which consists of many scientific professionals including hydrologists, meteorologists, geologists, and climate specialists. Working Group 1 deals with the physical science basis of climate change and addresses the current state of our climate, bringing forward the most up-to-date understanding of our climate system.

The report was made public Monday, Aug. 9 and is the first assessment report since 2014. 

In this report, the IPCC unequivocally states that the global temperature is warming at a rapid pace and that humans are the cause. 

The scientists explain that the rate of current warming is much more rapid than previously thought. By 2040, we will very likely see an increase of global temperatures by 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is much sooner than originally anticipated. 

When we reach that 1.5-degree Celsius rise, we’ll see major impacts to humankind, including rising sea levels, wildfires, longer and more intense droughts, and more frequent hurricanes.  

With this report, they also stress that climate modeling has drastically improved since the last decade, so the confidence in their findings is even higher. Climate modeling began in the 1950s, and as years passed the models have become increasingly sophisticated as technology advances and our knowledge of the climate expands. 

Since the first IPCC report in 1990, we now have a much better understanding of climate change. In the first report, they explained that human-caused climate change would soon become evident. Now, 31 years later, IPCC has the evidence to support that.

They state specifically that climate change is caused by humans, mainly through greenhouse gas emissions. They also, with certainty, state that climate change is linked to the intensity of weather events.

While these events such as hurricanes, heatwaves, wildfires, and droughts would have happened regardless of climate change, the intensity of them has been influenced by the human driven nature of climate change.

But there is good news, it is not too late to take action. In order to avoid massive repercussions, reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases are a necessity by every nation in the next 10-20 years. They explain that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to 2 degrees Celsius may be out of reach, unless there are immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in emissions.

For us to see the impact that we need to slow climate change, policies need to be put in place. The policy making process is slow and takes time and this is why we need to start now. But while we wait for that process, we can all do our part in decreasing our carbon footprint. Some great ways to do that include carpooling or even riding your bike for transportation. Reusable shopping bags and water bottles are another great and simple option to do your part.