Authored by green guide Larissa Janzen

The state of climate change is in constant flux. With an ever-changing Earth system and rapid gain of new knowledge, we must remain adamant in assessing the current state, and our progress in fighting, global warming. The state of global climate change is continuously evaluated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In this blog post, we focus on the conclusions of the working groups II and III evaluating climate change impacts and our ability to adapt. Remember to look up the first part of this blog post here, where we discuss the conclusions of working group I and the science of our changing climate!

On the State of Climate Change: Humanity

Working Group II: Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

The report from the second working group focuses on assessing the impacts of climate change on different scales and in different contexts e.g., ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities as well as resulting consequences for vulnerabilities and mitigation/adaptation capacities. Observed and projected impacts and risks, adaptation measures, and climate-resilient development are all discussed in the report. Some of the key findings are:

  • While vulnerability differs significantly among and between regions, the impacts of climate change disproportionately affect ecosystems, people, and communities most vulnerable to them. 
  • Weather and climatic extremes already resulted in some irreversible impacts beyond the adaptability of human and natural systems. Soft limits to human adaptation and hard limits to the adaptation of some ecosystems have already been reached. This may still be overcome by addressing financial and governance constraints.
  • Mitigation and adaptation efforts in the near future are the most relevant as they determine the magnitude and development of climate change and associated risks. Progress in adaptation efforts is made, however, these efforts are unevenly distributed and should not neglect transformational adaptation possibilities.
  • Observed impacts of climate change become increasingly difficult to manage as they become more complex.
  • Climate-resilient development depends on the inclusiveness of the development choices made. Additionally, protecting biodiversity and natural ecosystems is crucial for climate-resilient development.

Working Group III: Climate Change Mitigation

The report of the third working group focuses on questions of how to limit and prevent anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Some of the key findings are as follows:

  • It is unequivocal that human-caused GHG emissions have increased globally in all major sectors such as industry, energy supply, transport, etc. while regional contributions do differ.
  • There is a consistent implementation of policies aiming to reduce GHG emissions leading to an avoidance of emissions and investment in low-GHG technology, though these policies are unevenly distributed.
  • The emissions of existing and planned fossil fuel infrastructure exceed the emissions leading to pathways of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and lie more on the pathway that limits global warming to 2.0°C.
  • Modeled climate change pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C project global GHG to peak before 2025 reaching net-zero emissions in 2050. Not strengthening policies by the end of 2020 projects GHG emissions to rise beyond 2025 leading to global warming of 3.2°C which is considered median global warming.
  • Effective and inclusive climate governance can support climate change mitigation by creating frameworks for interaction and policy development. Climate governance is most effective if it is built on the engagement with actors in civil society, the public sector, businesses, and Indigenous people.

If you want to learn more about how our planet is changing, and what you can do about it, follow us on a tour in Copenhagen, Berlin, or Malmö! Here, we address exactly these issues discussed in the IPCC reports, and we discuss how they relate to the cities we live in. Find our tours at