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The UN climate report: what you need to know

In September 2013, the world's leading scientists published the most comprehensive and authoritative report on climate change ever written. Its findings should be seen as a call to action for governments around the world. 

The report is put together by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and is a collaboration of 800 experts from around the world, integrating the research of more than 9,000 studies. It's several thousand pages long, but you don't need to read the whole thing to get to grips with it.

Here's what you need to know:

  • The report shows with extreme certainty that climate change is real, caused by human activity and requires urgent action.
  • The scientists are 95% sure that humans and our carbon emissions are causing the world to heat up.
  • These emissions are still rising faster than ever.
  • The last three decades have been the warmest decades in recorded history. In other words, the planet is heating up and we are breaking new climate records every day.
  • Sea levels are rising, precipitation patterns are changing, sea ice is declining and oceans are acidifying - all with grave consequences for our communities, environments and economies. Some regions of the world will experience more frequent or more intense droughts, floods or storms.

What does it mean?

Climate change is impacting people here and now, but the consequences will be even worse in the future if action is not taken. Therefore the focus must now be on ensuring comprehensive government action that averts the worst impacts of climate change.

Governments must urgently implement plans to reduce emissions and make funding available to support communities already suffering the most from the impacts of climate change. 

How did coalition members respond?

Still want more? Here's our 3 favourite resources on IPCC:

  1. The IPCC Report in 90 Seconds - a video from the BBC.
  2. How hot will it get in my lifetime? - a great interactive infographic from the Guardian.
  3. 6 graphs that show how the climate is changing - for a bit more of the science, from the Carbon Brief.

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