Sustainability| 6 min read

4 Big Takeaways from the IPCC Report

Learn about the impact of 1.5ºC global warming and what action you can take today to save our planet. This blog was written in collaboration with our Sustainability Director, Kathleen Buckingham.
WRITTEN BY Hannah Prince

Last week the IPCC released their sixth and latest report, which paints a very real picture of what our Earth will look like in the near future as a result of climate change.

 

About The IPCC

If you aren’t already in the loop, the IPCC is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is assigned by the United Nations to assess the science related to climate change. Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. For the assessment reports, IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks. So if there’s one organization to take seriously and listen to when it comes to climate change, it’s them. The first IPCC report was published in 1990 and it’s been eight years since the last report was released.

 

What You Need To Know

The most important takeaway from this recent report is that human activity has unequivocally changed the earth’s climate. With a high level of certainty, it breaks down the paths that lie ahead for the planet as global temperatures continue to rise.

Our Sustainability Director, Kathleen Buckingham, broke down the four key takeaways from the report that you should know.

1. What’s Happening

The last five years have been the hottest on record. The global surface temperature has risen over 1ºC since pre-industrial levels (1850-1900) and our cumulative carbon dioxide is pushing us increasingly toward a future where temperatures will be at least +1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels by 2040. This is a climate emergency.

2. What This Means For The Planet

While an increase of +1.5ºC may seem small the ramifications are enormous. With a +1.5ºC future, there is a 3% probability of an ice-free Arctic in summer, an average of 2 months of drought per year, 4% of all animals will lose their habitat and there will be a 41% increase in area burned by wildfires. If those numbers sound bad, the +2ºC and +3ºC trajectories see the numbers jump even higher as shown below. It’s clear we’ve reached a point where we cannot stop climate change. But with immediate, decisive action (that takes us beyond net zero carbon emissions towards a carbon positive future), we have a chance of keeping temperatures from going beyond the critical point of 1.5ºC.

 

4 Big Takeaways from the IPCC Report

4 Big Takeaways from the IPCC Report

4 Big Takeaways from the IPCC Report

4 Big Takeaways from the IPCC Report

Photos Sourced from UN Climate Change

 

3. What This Means for Us

Halting the climate increase to +1.5ºC will take an immediate and tremendous global effort. It equates to (at least) a net zero future. That means that industry cannot release any more greenhouse gases (calculated as carbon dioxide equivalent or CO2e). If companies continue to emit greenhouse gases, to reach net zero, they will have to compensate for those emissions. For example, emissions could be offset by planting trees.

4. What This Means for You

Even if you aren’t feeling the effects of global warming in your day-to-day (you are truly lucky) in the coming years rising temperatures will impact every region of the planet. The wildfires that are currently burning around the world are just one example of these large-scale global implications.

 

What You Can Do

If you’re reading this and feeling a little overwhelmed, that’s totally understandable — we did too. But after the initial shock wears off, it’s important to remember the power we hold to create change. As a society, we need to stop aiming for net zero and advocate for a Climate+ future by starting to offset our own carbon emissions. Whether you’re just starting your sustainability journey or you’ve been at it for a while, we’re all part of the solution when it comes to mitigating the most harmful impacts of climate change.

If you’re looking for inspiration on how you can start (or continue) making a difference today, we recommend checking out the resources below.

 

What We’re Doing

We’re all on this journey together, and we recognize that we have a significant part to play in climate action as a fashion brand. Fashion has a lot to answer for. Estimates vary, but the fashion industry is responsible for between 4 and 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. At tentree, we aspire to be a leader and wanted to share just a few of the things we’re doing as a company to push for this global change.

  • We’re already certified as a Climate Neutral company. This means that we’ve achieved net zero carbon emissions by offsetting our production emissions through planting trees. By measuring, offsetting, and reducing our carbon footprint, we are setting the standard for corporate climate action.
  • We’ve signed on to the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action and are committed to showing our leadership and commitment publicly for being Climate+. The Charter asks for a commitment towards a net zero (1.5ºC) goal, but we’re going further than this and asking the Charter to demand more action. We’re building the data we need to create verified Science Based Targets so we can showcase our progress towards our Climate+ goals.
  • We’re integrating our suppliers into industry-standard processes (HIGG Index and others) to make sure we can monitor progress towards our Climate+ goal. In addition to working alongside our suppliers, all our tree planting initiatives take into account The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals that are a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.”
  • We’ve planted over 60 million trees to date to help sequester carbon to mitigate climate change, help create water and biodiversity conservation, support vulnerable communities around the world, and ensure food security. We’re doing everything we can to reach our goal of planting 1 billion trees by 2030.

 

After breaking down the IPCC report it’s clear that we’re standing at a crossroad. Although some of the damage can’t be undone, it’s critical we make the best choices for our planet moving forward. If we do nothing, a climate catastrophe awaits us. 3ºC warming would mean an average of 10 months of drought per year, a 97% increase in wildfires, over 40% of animals losing their habitat, and a 63% likelihood of an ice-free arctic in summer — leading to huge sea-level rise, loss of land, life, and floods of climate refugees.

To halt rising temperatures, we must achieve at least net zero and demand Climate+ action moving forward. As stated by the report, “unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to +1.5ºC or even 2ºC will be beyond reach”. This task can feel daunting, but we must come together to create a more hopeful and sustainable future. You hold the power to create change and the responsibility falls to each one of us to hold ourselves, our communities, and our governments accountable as we race to prevent a climate catastrophe.

Sustainability

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