IPCC Climate Change Reports: Why They Matter to Everyone on the Planet

The United Nations reports warn that dire impacts from climate change will arrive sooner than many expect. Here’s why we should follow their advice, and how the reduction of each ton of emissions can make a difference.

Ice melt in East Greenland

Christopher Michel via Flickr

Lamma Island Power Station, Hong Kong

Romel Jacinto via Flickr

Storms approach the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

Kevin Dooley via Flickr

Sharks and anthias swim near the Jarvis Island National Wildlife Refuge.

NOAA/NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center

Forest fires from around the United States

Clockwise from the upper left: Noah Berger/AP, Brandon Bickel/US Forest Service, Eric Harris/CA Air National Guard, Noah Berger/AP

Storms over New York City

Liz Bettany via Flickr

Women shoring up the embankment on Shakbaria River in Bangladesh

Marcin Szczepanski/Sinking Cities Project

Technicians working on a massive wind turbine in Normandy, France

Andia/UIG via Getty Images

Hikers cross Specimen Ridge in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

Sam Abell/National Geographic via Getty Images

This story was originally published on November 21, 2018, and has been updated with new information and links.


This NRDC.org story is available for online republication by news media outlets or nonprofits under these conditions: The writer(s) must be credited with a byline; you must note prominently that the story was originally published by NRDC.org and link to the original; the story cannot be edited (beyond simple things such as time and place elements, style, and grammar); you can’t resell the story in any form or grant republishing rights to other outlets; you can’t republish our material wholesale or automatically—you need to select stories individually; you can't republish the photos or graphics on our site without specific permission; you should drop us a note to let us know when you’ve used one of our stories.

Explainer

Exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming could trigger several and lead to irreversible climate impacts.

Guide

We can’t fight climate change without understanding what drives it.

Guide

How do we define and measure biodiversity—and just why is it so important?

Latest News

The U.N. panel’s latest report paints a picture of the grim effects of global warming—and underscores the need for urgent, transformative adaptation.

How-To

A climate job isn’t what it used to be. Neither is the path to getting one.

Explainer

The ubiquitous climate target comes with big loopholes, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hit it.

Latest News
Madagascar deforestation
Latest News

Food insecurity, biodiversity collapse, and skyrocketing global temps loom. But a new U.N. report says we have the tools to fix it.

Guide

By increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, we’re amplifying the planet’s natural greenhouse effect and turning up the dial on global warming.

onEarth Story

Scientists say we must fight the biodiversity crisis and climate change at the same time.

onEarth Story

How much longer can politicians pretend that it’s a divisive issue?

onEarth Story

A new novel imagines what life in Bangkok would be like if nearly half the city were underwater—which some experts say is a real possibility.

onEarth Story

The systems that allow life on earth to exist are breaking down. We’re responsible. But we also have the power to turn things around.

onEarth Story

To ignore this fact—as the Trump administration insists on doing—is to hamper U.S. foreign policy.

Drawing Out the Science

Looking for a silver lining in the harrowing United Nations climate change report? Here it is: We can determine the impact of climate change by the political, economic, and social choices we make today.

onEarth Story

So we’d better get it together and do something NOW.

Guide

The lowdown on the earth’s central environmental threat.

NRDC in Action

NRDC is working to help make the Global Climate Action Summit a success by inspiring more ambitious commitments to the historic 2015 agreement and enhanced pollution-slashing initiatives.

Latest News

Leaders from around the world are gathering in San Francisco right now for the largest climate event ever held in the United States. Here are all the pledges made so far.

Explainer

Gun-control activists want to use financial levers to curtail firearm sales. Can we do the same for carbon emissions?

Guide

Everything you wanted to know about our changing climate but were too afraid to ask.

onEarth Story

Today’s young people are finally realizing just how much power their voices actually wield. These millennial climate activists have every intention of using it.

Join Us

When you sign up you'll become a member of NRDC's Activist Network. We will keep you informed with the latest alerts and progress reports.