Tom Pashby gauges IEMA members’ reactions to recent IPCC reports
It’s only the second quarter of 2022 but we’ve already had two reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability and Mitigation of Climate Change – both raising the urgency around taking action to tackle the climate emergency.
UN secretary-general António Guterres, declaring “a code red for humanity” in a statement, went on:
“The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk. Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible.”
I spoke to IEMA members from across the community to get their reactions to the reports, and hear their thoughts on what they mean for the environment and sustainability profession.
“Recent IPCC reports outline what to do to tackle climate change, how to address rising greenhouse gas emissions and how to futureproof our planet, yet fossil fuel production continues,” said Lianne Smith MIEMA, group integrated management systems and sustainability manager at The Senator Group. “We know what to do and how to do it, yet there is little or no action from so many. Now, more than ever, we can see a real demise in the quality of our world. It is time to use these IPCC reports, be bold, improve policy and legislation, and make climate mitigation mandatory. Time is running out.”
Richard Lupo MIEMA, managing director at IEMA SME corporate partner SHIFT, said: “It was good that the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment report made national headlines. It will eventually impact the way we do things as a profession. For me, one encouraging take-away from the IPCC work is that we will need to shift our economic model to promote a broader emphasis on human wellbeing.”
Melissa Wellings PIEMA, ESG director at Harwich Haven Port Authority, had this take: “The report underlines the immense challenges we face to avert a climate disaster. As environmental and sustainability professionals, we have a duty to distil and utilise key findings of the report to fully integrate within business risk management processes while seeking opportunities to influence policymakers within our respective sectors. The opportunities available to us to reduce our emissions to zero are clear – we must now take the necessary action to implement without delay.”
“What everyone needs to take away from this is the need for speed
“No surprises that the latest IPCC report sounded dire warnings about the level of global greenhouse gas emissions, and yet the report still managed to simultaneously present hope to the world for climate stability,” said Dan Hamza-Goodacre FIEMA, former adviser to the COP26 High-Level Champions Team. “What everyone needs to take away from this, the Sixth Assessment, is the need for speed. Emissions must peak by 2025 and nearly halve by 2030. Governments, businesses and organisations the world over should be asking themselves ‘how fast can we run?’.”
With the World Meteorological Organization saying that we may exceed 1.5°C of global heating within the next five years, it is likely that alarm bells from the IPCC will continue to ring ever louder, leaving our profession to address the issues our planet faces with increasing urgency.