Mitigating climate change must be a priority for public health

Elsevier, The Lancet Public Health, Volume 6, September 2021
The Lancet Public Health

On Aug 9, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its latest report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis—the contribution of the Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report. The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I, focused on the most updated physical understanding of the climate system and climate change; Working Group II, detailing impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability; and Working Group III, dealing with the mitigation of climate change. The next two working groups will report in 2022. 30 years after the first IPCC analysis, this latest iteration adds precision and granularity, with, for example, newly added regional assessments of climate change, to inform risk assessment and policy making. Notably, the report upgrades human influence on global warming from clear to unequivocal. Its most important finding is that the world is likely to hit the 2015 Paris Agreement's target of 1·5°C of warming in the next 20 years, but stabilising at 1·5°C is still possible—if drastic reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.