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Climate Science

Science is a foundation for effective climate action. The best united science currently available provides a basis for building solutions, addressing impacts, and achieving climate justice and equity.
 

Listen to the best united science currently available

  • Science says urgent action is needed to address the climate crisis.

  • Each year scientists publish thousands of scientific papers on climate change. 

  • These are assessed and summarised by the IPCC, an organisation of 195 governments.

  • IPCC provides regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and risks, and options to address it. 

 

Science says climate change is already causing widespread impacts

  • According to the IPCC, human influence on the climate system is clear.

  • The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, snow and ice have diminished, sea levels have risen. 

  • Many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.  

  • Climate changes has had widespread impacts on human and natural systems. 


 

More warming threatens severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts

  • Continued emission will cause more warming and long-lasting changes in the climate system. 

  • This increases likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. 

  • Heat waves will occur more often; extreme rainfall will become more intense; the ocean will continue to warm and acidify; sea levels will continue to rise. 

  • Risks are generally greater for disadvantaged people and communities, and the risks of abrupt or irreversible changes increase as warming increases. 

     

Addressing the crisis requires curbing pollution and enhancing resilience

  • Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions in emissions.

  • Adaptation can reduce the risks of climate change impacts, but there are limits to its effectiveness, especially with more warming. 

  • Adaptation and mitigation options can address climate change, but no option is sufficient alone. 

  • Effective implementation depends on policies and cooperation at all scales and can be enhanced by linking adaptation and mitigation with other societal objectives. 

     

Science provides a basis for climate justice and equity

  • Science is a foundation for limiting warming below 1.5°C and ensuring climate justice and equity.

  • Understanding science, and the assumptions underlying it, provides a basis for effective action to tackle the climate crisis at its root causes. 

  • While natural science is unified on how climate change is happening and its impacts, social sciences often present different values and assumptions, and may point towards different solutions.

  • Science -- in combination with the values of equity and justice -- can help us to identify and take the actions needed to transform the current system, and create a society that lives in harmony with its fellow beings and the environment. 

     

For more information see:
IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Summary for Policymakers