IPCC Projections

IPCC Projections

Kevin Trenberth

Former Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC

In the previous video, Kevin outlines the differences between the effects of 1.5 vs 2 degrees warming. In this video, Kevin discusses the various emissions scenarios pathways as projected by the IPCC. In doing so, Kevin also elaborates on the multitude of physical threats that accompany these pathways.

In the previous video, Kevin outlines the differences between the effects of 1.5 vs 2 degrees warming. In this video, Kevin discusses the various emissions scenarios pathways as projected by the IPCC. In doing so, Kevin also elaborates on the multitude of physical threats that accompany these pathways.

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This video is now available for free. It is also part of a premium, accredited video course. Speak to an expert today to watch more.

IPCC Projections

19 mins 43 secs

Overview

It is clear climate change is having an impact on the planet, every year climate events seem to get bigger and last longer. An IPCC report highlighted the importance of attempting to limit warming to 1.5 degrees vs 2 degrees. With every incremental increase in temperatures, we see increased hot extremes, more extreme storms, worsening droughts, rising oceans, loss of species, food shortages, health risks and increased poverty and displacement. It is imperative that everyone on the planet attempts to limit and slow down the rate of warming.

Key learning objectives:

  • Outline how the future of planet Earth might look

  • Outline the consequences of warming

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Summary

What will the future look like?

The IPCC have assessed how the planet will look in several reports. In its most recent report AR6, the IPCC established a set of future scenarios called Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) to examine how global society, demographics and economics might change over the next century. There are 5 SSPs:

  • A world of sustainability-focused growth and equality (SSP1)
  • A “middle of the road” world where trends broadly follow their historical patterns (SSP2)
  • A fragmented world of “resurgent nationalism” (SSP3)
  • A world of ever-increasing inequality (SSP4)
  • A world of rapid and unconstrained growth in economic output and energy use (SSP5)

The IPCC then integrated the SSPs with Representative Concentration Pathways (future emissions scenarios) to produce a wide range of possible outcomes. 


All scenarios lead to higher global surface temperatures by the end of the century, but there are variances:

  • 1.0°C to 1.8°C under a very low greenhouse gas emissions scenario
  • 2.1°C to 3.5°C higher in the intermediate scenario
  • 3.3°C to 5.7°C higher under the very high greenhouse gas emissions scenario

The IPCC expects that global warming will surpass 2°C during the first half of the 21st century under the top two scenarios. Given the commitments at COP26 in late 2021, the warming by 2100 is assessed to be about 2.7°C. 

The AR6 report emphasised that “Unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5C will be beyond reach.”, and because no such reductions are underway or even have prospects, 1.5C will likely be passed by about 2030 to 2032.

What will the consequences of this warming be? 

The longer we wait to cut the release of greenhouse gases, the more severe and widespread the harm will be. The IPCC’s working group II emphasises 9 major climate risks: 

  1. Death or harm from coastal flooding
  2. Harm or economic losses from inland flooding
  3. Extreme weather disrupting electrical, emergency or other systems
  4. Extreme heat, especially for the urban and rural poor
  5. Food insecurity linked to warming, drought or flooding
  6. Water shortages causing agricultural or economic losses
  7. Loss of marine ecosystems essential to fishing and other communities
  8. Loss of terrestrial and inland water ecosystems, through agricultural and ecological drougts

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This video is now available for free. It is also part of a premium, accredited video course. Speak to an expert today to watch more.

Kevin Trenberth

Kevin Trenberth

Dr. Kevin Trenberth is a Distinguished Scholar at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). He was a Coordinating Lead Author of the 1995, 2001, and 2007 Scientific Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Kevin also shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize which went to the IPCC and Al Gore. Between 1999 to 2006, Kevin served on the Joint Scientific committee of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). Kevin then went on to chair the WCRP Observation and Assimilation Panel from 2004 to 2010 and the Global Energy and Water Exchanges (GEWEX) Scientific Steering Group from 2010 to 2013. He has also served on many US national committees and is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi. Kevin has received many awards throughout his career. In 2000, he received the Jule G. Charney award from the AMS; in 2003, he was given the NCAR Distinguished Achievement Award. In 2013 he was awarded the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, and he received the Climate Communication Prize from AGU and in 2017 he was honoured with the Roger Revelle medal by the AGU.

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