For the first time, the IPCC lists the effects of the climate crisis on mental health


Climate scientists and national representatives met Monday for a virtual two-week conference to finalize the latest leg of the sixth report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is expected to also provide information on the mental health consequences of the climate crisis for the first time.

“Part of the mental health challenge is apocalyptic fears among younger generations. So we have to be careful how we communicate the results of our science and whether we are talking about the collapse of the biosphere and the disappearance of humanity,” said Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, during the opening ceremony of the 55th United Nations (UN )-sponsored body that compiles the latest scientific opinion on global warming

The report, which will include a summary for policymakers that the conference will review line by line, will cover the economic, food security, biosphere, health and mental health implications of the climate crisis. The summary will be published on February 28th.

The IPCC released a comprehensive report on the physical-scientific basis of climate change in August last year, which influenced the Glasgow climate summit in November. The physics community is aware of what is happening so far and what will happen in the coming decades, especially with melting glaciers and rising sea levels, Taalas said.

“The growing trend of disasters is expected to continue at least into the 2060s, and sea level rise will continue for much longer as we have already passed 420ppm CO2 concentration,” the UN weather agency chief said. “If we have CO2 removal technologies, we could change that. So far that is not the case.”

In 1980, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere was about 340 parts per million (ppm), according to the World Meteorological Organization.

The impact of the climate crisis is visible and clearly understood by world leaders, and they did not question the scientific information at the Glasgow conference, stressed Taalas. “Africa, South Asia and the Pacific Islands are very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” he said.

The current sixth cycle of assessment reports is the most ambitious in IPCC history, said Hoesung Lee, chair of the scientific panel. Compared to its previous reports, the latest will include more general and local information with an emphasis on natural, social and economic sciences, Lee said.

Over the next two weeks, policymakers from 196 countries and 270 academics from 67 nations will review the Summary for Policymakers.

“The first working group report of the IPCC sixth assessment in 2021 quantified the physical changes in past and future climates due to increased greenhouse gas emissions. The working group’s second report will explain the impacts and risks from these physical changes and ways to mitigate those risks through adaptation,” said Roxy Mathew Koll, climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, last week.

“South Asia and India in particular are already facing increased risks from increasing extreme weather events such as floods, landslides and droughts, hurricanes, heat and cold waves and rising sea levels. The region’s dense population and low household income will increase the vulnerability and risk we face,” Koll said Measures.”


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