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Spring 2022 Participants React to the IPCC 2022 Report

Written by: Yaroslava Shiryayeva

Yaroslava Shiryayeva, 15, Massachusetts

(1) What is your reaction to the findings of the 2022 IPCC report?

The scientific findings of the 2022 IPCC report are incontrovertible proof that the world as we know it has definitely changed into an unstable and unpredictable place. The science is clear that anthropogenic factors are changing basic terrestrial and oceanic structures upon which we are completely dependent. Contrary to popular belief, we can not survive without our planet and the condition of our literal home has been rapidly worsening since the Industrial Revolution. Unless we approach net zero carbon emission in the very near future, the effects of climate change will no longer be remotely controllable. Already, scientists can not accurately predict the complete extent of climate change because of the complexity of the issue. Even so, the data collected in the 2022 IPCC report was enough for scientists to conclude very likely and virtually certain events such as continued global warming, sea-level rise, glacial melting, and extinction.

Although most of the information in the 2022 IPCC report was familiar to me as a climate advocate, I could not suppress my gut feeling of dread while reading about tipping points and unpredictable abrupt changes in the climate. It feels like a surreal dream, to see these truths written in black and white print, while the adults and policy makers (it seems) continue to acknowledge the problem only as a passing worry (if at all). To me, it could not be made clearer that we need every single person to step up and make a difference, not tomorrow, but today. The work we need to get done is already overdue. We need radical policy change, radical lifestyle change, radical attitude change. We need to acknowledge climate change as a climate emergency, and to treat it like one.

(2) How should youth climate activists further amplify the urgency of climate action?

Youth climate advocates need to be more dedicated, unified, and radical than ever before. Nothing less than everything we have, and maybe more will be enough to alter our futures. We need to make sure that everyone understands that climate change is not a choice but a certainty.

We can no longer afford the time for gentle persuasion and working around those who refuse to acknowledge the deaths that are already happening because of the climate crisis. We need to create one strong, unified message and spread this message globally. We must use every resource at our disposal to cut this calamity off at its climax and impose mitigatory procedures to ensure that at least some of our communities might survive the oncoming typhoon. Because the fact is that the rain has already started, and while some are privileged enough to hide under their umbrellas, many are already being swept off their feet and into the deluge of reality.

(3) As a young person, what do you want policy makers and governments to know about why they should address the climate crisis?

This issue is no longer a question of the future, but a demand of the present, and we need policy makers and governments to acknowledge this. They need to acknowledge that every concern, every possible dollar, and every last life (including their own) is tied to the future of the planet. We have known about this issue since at least the 19th century and virtually no effective policy has been enacted since then. That means that for over 200 years, government’s have ignored the demands and needs of the people, because what could be more important to the people than their home, their sustenance, their very being? Now is not the time for change. The time for change is 200 years past. But since the past is unchangeable and the future is not (at least, not entirely), we must enact policy change immediately. There is no justification for not making environmental salvation our global priority, so let’s start today.

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