Released in February and April, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s latest reports highlight the impact and scale of climate breakdown, and present the causes and solutions.
Created by more than 250 climate scientists from more than 65 countries, the two reports have been described as the most alarming yet, with 45% of the world’s population identified as living in contexts that are “highly vulnerable” to the impacts of climate change, and global warming of 1.5ºC likely to be exceeded in the “near term”.
Areas of focus
Climate adaptation and climate-resilient development are highlighted as crucial future strategies, alongside urgent decarbonisation, including a faster shift to renewable energy, micro-grids and energy independence. The reports also include calls to invest in education, social justice and natural conservation, with 30–50% of the world’s ecosystems needing to be designated protected areas.
Experimental technological solutions such as direct air capture and geoengineering are critiqued, and the final line of the February report summarises the need for this decade to be decisive in global climate action: “Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future.”
Climate change awareness and conversation is growing steadily across WGSN’s Influencer Maps. Social data across industries including food and drink, beauty and lifestyle show climate change conversation gradually increasing, peaking on Earth Day 2021.
At the same time, consumer awareness of the need for climate adaptation is rising fast. “Attitudes around climate disaster are shifting from ‘this could never happen to me’ to ‘I must be prepared when this happens to me’,” says Allyson Rees, Senior Strategist at WGSN Insight.
“Education on climate crisis mitigation is key, but brands must also address how to deal with climate disaster on a practical level. There is a huge white space opportunity for brands to offer preparedness content that is free of fear-mongering and conspiracy theories.”
How you can action this
Evaluate your sustainability strategy in light of the reports' focuses and findings – where regulation is likely to follow – as well as consumer demand. Prioritise natural solutions, business-wide decarbonisation and a shift to renewable energy over tech-enabled offsetting methods such as carbon capture.
For more insight on sustainability shifts and strategies, WGSN clients can access the full Sustainability Bulletin: April 2022, as well as our recent reports on Climate-Adaptive Lifestyles and Climate-Adaptive Design.