The IPCC Climate Change 2022 Impacts Report: Why it matters

Large-scale reduction in carbon dioxide pollution key to climate change response, scientists say

This week some 270 top scientists from 67 countries, including two NOAA scientists, are completing the final details of a large-scale report: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability, the second part of the Sixth Assessment Report offsite link. The report will describe how climate change is already affecting the world’s human and natural systems.

Arctic landscape showing a view of Alaska's Chukchi Borderlands.
View of the Chukchi Borderlands where the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic ocean basins meet. (Caitlin Bailey/Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration)

On Monday, February 28, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change offsite link (IPCC) will release its latest report, which will focus on climate solutions and regional and local adaptation. It will also assess the feasibility of various adaptation strategies to curb current and predicted impacts of climate change.

The IPCC was established 34 years ago to provide actionable information on climate change for decision makers. IPCC reports are the result of a unique collaboration of scientific expertise and political consensus. The new report will reaffirm that the science pertaining to climate change is settled, and the most important response to climate change is large-scale reduction in carbon dioxide pollution that drives global warming.

...we have to act, we need a whole of society approach, no one can be left out, no household, no businesses, no government...

Debra Roberts, Co-chair of the IPCC Working Group II report

To learn more about why this new report matters and what went into creating it, NOAA interviewed NOAA authors, Libby Jewett, director of the NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program, and Kirstin Holsman, a research scientist from NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center. They served on an international team of authors who assessed scientific literature to prepare the new IPCC report’s chapter on North America.

The authors underwent a rigorous selection process offsite link, and have spent three years working with fellow scientists to provide the best available science on climate change impacts, vulnerabilities and adaptation in North America. Holsman is also an author of the report’s cross-chapter paper on Polar Regions.

Watch: The below video interview features NOAA scientists Libby Jewett and Kirstin Holsman  contributors to the latest IPCC report.

In a recent briefing on the new report, Debra Roberts, co-chair of the IPCC Working Group II report and head of Sustainable and Resilient City Initiatives in eThekwini Municipality in Durban, South Africa, said the report will tell a story about how today’s civilization has been built on ways of life that have accelerated the decline of nature to the detriment of humans and ecosystems. The report’s authors will lay out a clear case for a major turnaround that will better integrate the world’s economic and environmental systems for a sustainable future.

Hans-Otto Pörtner, co-chair of the IPCC report and an expert on climate impacts on natural systems, said the report would call out the major barriers to creating a sustainable future in the face of rising temperatures and accelerating climate change impacts on every sector and every person on Earth.

“We have an education gap and an implementation gap,” Pörtner said. “The traffic rules to move toward more sustainable lives are not reaching people.” 

Added Roberts: “There is a strong message across all the IPCC reports that we have to act, we need a whole of society approach, no one can be left out, no household, no businesses, no government, and it's that whole of society scale that we haven’t put in place that is urgently needed.”

Media contact

Monica Allen, monica.allen@noaa.gov, (202) 379-6693