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IPCC report summary: 5 key points

With COP26 less than three months away, the newly published Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is a timely reminder that, while the clock is ticking, we can still ‘avert a climate catastrophe’ if we act now, and act together.

Here are just some of the most salient points identified within the IPCC report by Sweco’s carbon and sustainability experts. For more on how we can fight the climate emergency in real terms across the buildings and urban design industry, visit our Urban Insights energy hub.

What does the IPCC report say?

  1. It is now beyond doubt that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. We are responsible for the rapid changes we have seen but we can also be part of the solution. Planning, design and engineering service providers must therefore ensure they work quickly and constantly to minimise impact on climate and advise clients how to mitigate their emissions.
  2. All projections see temperatures reach 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels by 2040 – quicker than expected. Limiting human-induced global warming to specific levels requires limiting our cumulative CO2 As such, it is critical that we do everything we can to minimise our carbon emissions – both professionally and personally – as soon as possible to minimise the impact on climate change.
  3. There will be an increase in extreme weather events and sea levels. This, coupled with increased urbanisation means that it is imperative that our cities are adapted for future climates. We must rethink our methods for heating and cooling our cities – with a simultaneous need to adapt to more intense rainfalls in our city centres.
  4. Under high carbon emissions scenarios, the effectiveness of natural carbon sinks are expected to reduce resulting in a higher proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere. We must not rely on carbon offsetting strategies but should see this as a last resort for tackling residual emissions whilst taking every action to minimise our carbon footprint.
  5. Globally, every region will experience changes due to climate. Those who oversee and contribute to projects around the world must endeavour to implement best practice carbon management on all projects, to minimise carbon in construction and deliver against net zero targets.

Note: The latest IPCC report – focuses on findings from its Working Group 1 (WG1), providing a scientific overview of the climate change emergency. WG2 (vulnerability and adaptation) and WG3 (mitigation) reports will come out over the next 12 months.

At Sweco, we aim to be a role model in sustainability, taking responsibility for and being part of the solution to society’s sustainability and carbon reduction challenges. Our commitment is to do more to support and challenge our clients in delivering innovative solutions through expert consultancy and high-quality design.

Continue the conversation – contact our Senior carbon consultant Dr David Jackson to discuss your climate change challenges. David has a background in weather and climate at the Met Office. More recently, he has completed a PhD specialising in Carbon Management in Infrastructure and has worked for both contractors and designers to minimise carbon across the built environment.