News and Analysis | March 4, 2022

A bleak warning on climate change from the IPCC

The latest UN report on climate change has delivered a damning verdict. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that humans and nature are being pushed beyond their abilities to adapt, and urgent action is needed to avoid mounting loss of life, biodiversity and infrastructure.

This report comes only four months after the pivotal climate change summit COP26, where leaders from around the world discussed climate change at length, but achieved little in the way of positive action. With this new report, it appears the goalposts may have shrunk even smaller.

It outlines widespread and pervasive damage to habitats, displacement of populations, droughts seizing rural communities. It’s an ominous statement, concluding that for us the wager is a sustainable future. We shouldn’t be reliant on the climate – rather, the climate relies on us.

Produced by 1,000 physical and social scientists and approved by 195 nations, it suggests that 1 in every 3 is now exposed to deadly heat stress, with that number projected to rise to 50% and then 75%. It calls on the here and now to solve this issue, and challenges each person at every level to find a solution to this enormous problem, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says: “To delay is death”.

It’s a fundamental call to action in what the IPCC describes as “what must be a decade of action”, underlining that whilst there are some things we cannot change, we’re now in a “crucial window” to ensure this escalates no further.

As our Advice Manager, Shams Kabir, says:

The report doesn’t actually tell us anything new in respect of the climate emergency, especially with regards to health, disease and biodiversity. It does, however, paint a very dire picture of society’s potential to stop and ultimately reverse the effects of climate change.

In some ways, it appears that the researchers have already taken extreme climate crises as a given, and are simply proposing sticking-plasters to make other aspects of society more resilient when these crises hit.

Whilst they – quite rightly – put onus on corporations and politicians to lead from the front to entrench a structural behavioural change in the way we go about day-to-day life (referred to in the report as “climate resilient development”), at Path, we believe that more can be done in the immediate to stop the quickening pace of climate change. 

Ultimately, we are hopeful that behavioural change, together with the technological advancements already in the pipeline, can provide a multi-dimensional approach that society can rely on to turn the tide back in our favour.

At Path, we continue to work tirelessly to provide active and meaningful change in the form of impact investment. As people become more conscious of where their money is invested and the harm it could be doing to the planet, we are hopeful that the right organisations and projects get the right money, companies extending a green message come to the forefront of their sectors, and we and the world around us reap the rewards.