‘What are we waiting for?’: Why the IPCC report is a call to action - Extinction Rebellion UK

‘What are we waiting for?’: Why the IPCC report is a call to action

Yesterday’s 6th Assessment Report from the IPCC reiterated what we’ve known for a while: the climate crisis spells certain disaster. But it also provides more reason than ever before to join the two weeks of actions in London starting August 23rd, at which we will rebel to lessen the horrors to come.

Drawing on the last eight years of peer-reviewed climate research, the UN-commissioned report confirmed we are on track to exceed 1.5℃ of global warming in a little over a decade, and communities everywhere will have to adapt in certain ways, such as creating efficient early warning systems, to survive. 

Due to the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis, there are some who understand this more than others. Joseph Masembe from XR Uganda explains: “People may be shocked by this climate report, but for many of us on this side of the world, it’s been a long time coming. In Uganda, we have steadily and quietly watched it unfold from bad to worse.” 

Among those whose lives are already devastated is Nyombi Morris, a 23-year-old Ugandan activist from Fridays For Future, who explains: “My parents were farmers. Farming was the only thing they knew. As time went on we experienced progressively more extreme weather events such as floods and landslides. Eventually our crops were washed away, our house was flooded and couldn’t sustain our livelihood so we had to move to Kampala.”

Johannesburg-based activist Orthalia Kunene shares their concerns, saying: “South Africa is already living in the reality of climate change – the devastating impacts of weather-related hazards that have wreaked havoc on infrastructure and communities, causing devastating economic and social losses. Without urgent adaptation measures, South African cities and towns will be further hit hard, leaving millions exposed and vulnerable to climate change.”

Reasons to rebel

Despite the difficult future humanity has created for itself – a future we are already seeing today, there is still hope we can avert the very worst of climate collapse. However, every rise of 0.5°C will increase the severity of food shortages, water scarcity, droughts, floods, wildfires and other climatic disruptions. Tipping points that cause sudden leaps in this process will make every rise of 0.5℃ worth avoiding.

For co-founder of Scientists for Extinction Rebellion Dr Aaron Thierry government inaction in response to the previous seven reports, shows we must drive the necessary changes ourselves. Aaron draws his expertise from a PhD in Ecology and research into climate communications at Cardiff University. He warns, “We’ve had 30 years of IPCC reports saying the same thing with ever greater urgency and none have got governments to take the necessary action. If you find yourself alarmed by the terrifying findings then I urge you to commit yourself to civil resistance. 

“We cannot allow our governments to continue ignoring the stark warnings. It is time we take responsibility and join together to rebel against their inaction before things become truly catastrophic! Every government in the world has signed off on these reports, none can say they weren’t warned again and again. We must now hold them to account.”

Sharing these sentiments, Nyombi voices the frustrations of many: “When I look at the IPCC report, I wonder when words will turn into action? In Africa it’s worse than in the West – many have lost their lives, farms and homes due to global warming – it’s happening now. Conferences and reports won’t change anything till we commit to actions and escape plans. We have experienced it, scientists have spoken and activists have spoken. So what are we waiting for?”

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