The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with the objective of providing governments at all levels with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. Their reports are well-researched but not very accessible to the general reader.
In the UK, the Government’s Meteorological Office (the “Met Office”) worked with other agencies on the AVOID2 programme around avoiding “dangerous” climate change. The Met Office defines “dangerous” climate change effects as those that are irreversible, spiralling (self-reinforcing), very large or very rapid, and with a serious impact on natural and human systems. A report was published in November 2017 that made several recommendations but also noted there were “major gaps in our understanding of how the climate system is likely to respond not only to future emissions but also to policy interventions to reduce those emissions”.
The Met Office made an earlier declaration that if global emissions of greenhouse gases continued unabated, the planet’s surface temperature would reach 4°C above pre-industrial levels by the year 2100, leading to dangerous change on a number of fronts. They added that limiting global warming to avoid this danger would require local, national and international co-operation, and a range of renewable fuels and carbon capture technologies to be fully developed, assessed and implemented.
The new technologies being researched include the use of hydrogen rather than fossil fuels across a range of industries and activities, and the potential for more efficient batteries to store energy. There is also work being carried out on more effective food production and other strategies in response to the effects of global warming that are already being felt.
Reports on success in any of these research areas are reported in the media, but there will inevitably be delay in implementing the results, such as providing cheap hydrogen-powered cars worldwide. More immediate impact on climate change urgently requires the recommended local, national and international co-operation.
See further reports at www.ipcc.ch from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.
This page was last updated on 28th January 2023.