Last month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – nearly 100 of the world’s leading climate scientists, convened by the United Nations – released a report that has been a wake-up call to many, detailing the impacts of global warming beyond 1.5°Celsius. In this podcast, Lawrence MacDonald, our Vice President for Communications, calls up Kelly Levin, a Senior Associate in WRI’s Climate Program, to discuss what you need to know about this report.
First, the two unpack the main findings: why 1.5 and 2° Celsius of warming are worlds apart, what kind of societal transformation we need to limit climate change, and why “limiting warming to 1.5°C” can mean different things.
Levin says, “The IPCC is really a summary of the latest and greatest scientific research. It doesn’t necessarily have new findings. But it really puts them all together... And it really kind of hits you when you see impact after impact under 1.5° warming or 2° warming and how bad the future really could be if we don’t get our act together to reduce emissions.”
But there is hope. Levin also shares what motivates her to keep working in the face of a planetary crisis.
She says, “I think we’re already seeing demonstrated economic benefits of climate action, and real opportunities with new technologies and leadership there. And also, I think that every little bit counts. I know that this conversation was focused on 1.5 and 2 but there’s even a difference between 2.4 and 2.6. Even if we’re making small amounts of progress, it does help. There is no magic around 1.5 or 2. Everything counts, and we really need to just do everything we can to shift the math.”
As MacDonald and Levin explain, while the IPCC report is sobering, this is no time for despair. The scale of the climate change challenge is enormous, but we do have the tools to address it. Now it’s a matter of everyone – countries, cities, the private sector, individuals – finding the motivation to pick up those tools and get to work.