What scientists want you to know about climate change in 2023

The IPCC climate report has a clear message: The choices we make in this decade will have impacts now and for thousands of years.


The world’s leading climate scientists have just released their assessment of the climate emergency and ways to deal with it.

It’s a crucial report delivered at a crucial moment, when governments are taking stock of their climate actions under the Paris Agreement. The verdict of the scientists is this:

  • “There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all”.
  • “Rapid and far-reaching transitions across all sectors and systems are necessary.”
  • “The choices and actions implemented in this decade will have impacts now and for thousands of years.”

Let that sink in for a moment.

The report brings together findings from thousands of recent peer-reviewed research papers. Six underlying reports give more detail on different areas.

It’s a lot to digest. So here’s our summary, broken down into 10 key points:

The situation is bad, and it’s rapidly getting worse

  • It’s bad: Human-caused climate change is already widespread, rapid and intensifying.
  • It’s worse than expected: Impacts and risks are getting more severe sooner.
  • It’s deeply unfair: Those least responsible are hit the hardest.
  • Worse is to come: We’re on track to very high risks and irreversible losses.

But we have an enormous opportunity to change our course

  • We can still keep warming under 1.5 degrees: With urgent action, the Paris long-term goal can still be met.
  • We have the solutions: We’ve got what we need to halve global emissions by 2030, on the way to net zero.
  • There’s already too much fossil fuel infrastructure. We need to stop building more.

Our choices matter

  • Real solutions, no delays. We need to choose solutions that can deliver in real life, not only in models.
  • Fairness and social inclusion are essential. Finance must start shifting from problems to solutions.
  • We need to shift from gradual change to transformative change: It’s all hands on deck.

Want to dig deeper? Greenpeace International has a more detailed explainer.

So now what?

Scientists have delivered their toolbox for survival. Now it is our job to make sure governments, businesses, investors and citizens act on the science.

The life, well-being or suffering of our daughters, granddaughters, great-granddaughters and many more after them will look back at us and feel grateful for what we did, or perhaps what we did not do.

What's next?