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IPCC Report: time running out on the 1.5C target

Polish firefighters combating wildfires in Kårböle. Image via Flickr: eu_echo
Polish firefighters combating wildfires in Kårböle. Image via Flickr: eu_echo

World leaders must respond at COP26.

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the UN body responsible for climate science – has published the first of its three-part 6th Assessment Report (AR6). This is the sixth report produced by the IPCC that aims to summarise comprehensively the state of knowledge on climate science. The last assessment report was in 2014.
  • All governments approve the final outcome by consensus.
  • It shows with even more certainty that human-caused emissions have dangerously and permanently changed our planet and its climate. 
  • Under the Paris Agreement the world agreed to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. The report shows that the window to keeping within this limit is rapidly closing – but it is not too late. The choices made by world leaders – particularly between now and the UN COP26 climate summit in Glasgow this November – will decide whether emissions are cut fast enough to keep 1.5C alive.

Quotes on the IPCC Report

Nick Mabey, Chief Executive, said:

“This updated scientific consensus shows all countries are more exposed to higher climate risks than previously thought. The current climate disasters impacting the world have brought home the vulnerability of even the richest and most powerful countries. At Glasgow the big polluters need to step up and cut emissions faster as well as giving more help to those unable to protect themselves from climate impacts.”

Kate Levick, Associate Director, Sustainable Finance, said:

“The IPCC’s messages make sobering reading for all financial decision-makers. Recent shifts towards net-zero, resilient investment by private sector firms and governments must now be rapidly accelerated, now that we have an updated understanding both of the risks involved and of the limited time window to address them. The financial system must support the economic transformation that we need, ending finance for outdated technologies and scaling up investment into future resilience and prosperity.”

Tom Evans, Climate Diplomacy Researcher, said:

“Every country has endorsed this report, no government has any excuse to duck their responsibility to act. The window to limiting global warming to 1.5C is closing quickly. But it is not too late for politicians to make the necessary decisions. At COP26, world leaders must agree a ‘Glasgow Package’ that accelerates emissions reductions and takes efforts to manage the impacts of climate change to the next level. This is the only adequate response to today’s report.”

Lisa Fischer, Energy Systems Programme Leader, said:

“We know for certain that we need to act urgently. The energy sector offers many mature solutions to reduce emissions and boost growth. Leaders and financial institutions must show they are shifting finance out of fossil fuels and into clean energy to keep chances of a safe climate before COP26 and power the economic recovery.”

Leo Roberts, Coal Transition Research Manager

“Ending the burning of coal is the single biggest step the world can take to prevent catastrophic climate change. The latest IPCC analysis confirms that the window to halt warming at 1.5C is closing rapidly. COP26 must provide a space for countries to commit to ‘no new coal’, set pathways to early retirement of global coal, and support countries through a just transition.”

Larissa Gross, Cooling, Clean Economy & Climate Diplomacy Research Manager

“This report underpins the reality playing out around the world: extreme heat and other climate impacts are increasingly frequent and severe, threatening human health, infrastructure and security. Members of the UN Security Council must act now to support adaptation and resilience to extreme heat, safeguarding our common agenda against cascading climate impacts.”

Brick Medak, Head of E3G’s Berlin Office

Der Bericht des IPCC setzt ein klares Ausrufezeichen. Alle Staaten der Welt müssen ihrer Verantwortung vor dem entscheidenden UN-Klimagipfel in Glasgow gerecht werden, um die schlimmsten Folgen des Klimawandels noch abzuwenden. Das Fenster zum Erreichen des 1,5-Grad-Ziels schließt sich schnell, aber noch ist es nicht zu spät. Gefordert ist jetzt konsequentes und rasches Handeln der Staatengemeinschaft.

Available for comment

Please contact directly:

Tom Evans, E3G Geopolitics and Diplomacy expert
+44 (0) 7931 317 327 | 

For further quotes from E3G experts please call +44 (0) 7783 787 863 or email

Notes to Editors

  1. E3G is an independent European climate change think tank accelerating the transition to a climate safe world. E3G is made up of world leading strategists on the political economy of climate change, dedicated to achieving a safe climate for all.
  2. In 2020, E3G was ranked the seventh most globally influential environmental think tank by the Global Go To Think Tank Index.


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