Sarah Burch in Undark:
On April 4, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the final installment of its Sixth Assessment Report, an epic synthesis of science exploring the causes and consequences of climate change. This latest document focused on the causes — chiefly, the rampant emission of greenhouse gases — and how to reduce them, fast.
As one of the lead authors of the new report, I and more than 230 scientists from around the world collectively reviewed over 18,000 scientific articles and responded to around 60,000 reviewer comments over the course of more than three years. Our goal was to compile the most accurate and nuanced picture of current climate science and social science, and to use this to inform international climate change treaty-making and policy design. The result was a nearly 3,000 page document that details a stark, urgent threat — but that also gives us reason for optimism.
First, the grim news: Average annual greenhouse gas emissions were the highest during the past decade than they have been in human history.