International panel urges choices rooted in Indigenous knowledge
We are on the front lines of climate change as evidenced by drought, increased storm intensity, and environmental analytics. It is important to understand what is being done on the international level so that we are better informed as to what is possible on tribal, federal, state, and local levels.
This week, we are focusing on the international level with a look at the alarming, and hopeful, IPCC report that was issued on Monday, March 20, 2023.
The report emphasizes that climate, ecosystems, and society are interconnected; prioritizes change based on scientific, Indigenous, and local knowledge; and calls for the reduction of climate risk in low-income and marginalized communities.
The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report at the IPCC Conference in Interlachen, Switzerland. The primary message was simple, there are multiple, feasible, and effective options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change, and they are available now.
“Mainstreaming effective and equitable climate action will not only reduce losses and damages for nature and people, it will also provide wider benefits,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee, “We can still secure a livable sustainable future for all.”
The report reminds us that the planet has already warmed 1.1°C, or 1.98°F, above pre-industrial levels. This has resulted in increasingly dangerous impacts on nature and people in every region of the world with more intense extreme weather events that further increase risks.
When these risks combine with the adverse effects of pandemics or conflicts, they become more difficult to manage. Taking the right action now could result in transformational change but the challenge is immense.
The necessity of keeping global warming under 2°C, or 3.6°F, cannot be overstated. To do so, we will need to reduce emissions by half by 2030. In order to accomplish this goal, the IPCC recommends a solution that, “lies in climate-resilient development; integration of measures to adapt to climate change with actions to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in ways that provide wider benefits.”
“To be effective, these choices need to be rooted in our diverse world views and knowledges, including: scientific knowledge, Indigenous knowledge, and local knowledge. This approach will facilitate climate resilient development and allow appropriate, socially-acceptable solutions.”
The report states, “The greatest gains in well-being could come from prioritizing climate risk reduction for low-income and marginalized communities, including people living in informal settlements.”
Climate, ecosystems, and society are interconnected. Effective and equitable conservation of the approximately 50% of Earth’s land, freshwaters, and oceans will be necessary to ensure a health planet; our global emissions need to be lower than our planet’s ability to recycle all of that carbon, sulfur, and methane we put out there back into the dirt.
Changes in the food sector, electricity, transport, industry, buildings, and land use can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions while making it easier for folks to live lower-carbon lifestyles, which can lead to improved health and wellbeing.
“Personal and societal understandings regarding the consequences of overconsumption can help people and organizations make more informed choices,” says the report, continuing, “Transformation changes are more likely to succeed when there is trust, where everyone works together to prioritize risk reduction. We live in a world that has different opportunities to bring about change.”
The IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established in 1988 to provide political leaders with periodic scientific assessments about climate change. The IPCC has 195 member states of the United Nations or World Meteorological Organization.
Thousands of people from all over the world volunteer their time as IPCC authors to assess thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how mitigation can reduce those risks. It is an open and transparent review that includes a diverse range of views and expertise.
You can learn more by visiting www.ipcc.ch or on the IPCC Youtube channel.
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