Statement by IPCC Chair to the Climate Ambition Summit

Statement to the Climate Ambition Summit, 12 December 2020

Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC

Excellencies, distinguished delegates!

Thank you for this invitation.

I was in Paris for COP21 and saw how governments reached an agreement, based on the findings of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report.

Science tells us the climate is already changing because of human activity.

We are currently on a path risking serious, pervasive, and irreversible impacts.

But science also shows us the pathways that can lead to a sustainable and prosperous future.

In Paris, you also asked the IPCC for a report on global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

That report tells us:

  • Climate change is already affecting people and nature around the world
  • Limiting warming to 1.5º is not impossible, but would mean unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society
  • There are clear benefits to keeping warming to 1.5 rather than 2º or more.
  • Stabilizing the climate is compatible with other goals like sustainable development and eradicating poverty.

Our last three special reports show that the need – and possibility — for urgent action are clear.

Governments are responding to these findings with new commitments which are not yet enough to keep warming below 1.5 degrees, and we look forward to hearing stronger commitments today in line with climate science.

Science continues to advance, and the IPCC is working on the Sixth Assessment Report despite the many challenges.

We will have more knowledge to share at COP26 and beyond.

But you already know enough to act today. Thank you

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