Climate change affects our entire planet. Life on land, in rivers and the oceans in all regions of the world has already been harmed by climate change. Already, between 3.3 and 3.6 billion people live in regions that are severely threatened by climate change. Climate-related extreme weather events have already jeopardised the food security of millions of people and mean that water availability can no longer be guaranteed. The most severe impacts can be observed in regions of Africa, Asia and Central and South America as well as small islands and in the Arctic. Climate change also exacerbates conflicts and social injustice. Adaptation efforts to date have mitigated some impacts but have not been sufficient to prevent losses and damage in all systems, regions and sectors. As climate change increases, the costs of the damage rise exponentially. These are the conclusions of the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the impacts of climate change.
Speaking following its publication on 28 February, Minister of State Anna Lührmann emphasised:
No challenge is greater than the climate crisis. Once again, the IPCC Assessment Report shows this with alarming clarity. It is an incendiary document about a world in flames. At the same time, it provides the scientific basis for our climate diplomacy. The important message of the report is that we cannot afford to waste any time, we have to act immediately.
The scientific basis for climate diplomacy
The report is the second instalment of the Sixth Assessment Report, on which the IPCC has been working since 2021. It explores the impacts that climate change is already having on ecosystems and biological diversity globally and, from a social perspective, on humanity and society. It also predicts the future development of climate risks, vulnerability and resilience of ecosystems and humanity. The report shows that there is a disparity between the adaptation efforts currently being made and what is actually necessary. Likewise, the estimated costs of adaptation exceed the levels of funding being channelled into adaptation measures. The report serves as a scientific basis for political decision-making. Fifteen scientists and academics from Germany were among those involved in its compilation.