Coping With the IPCC Report

In August 2021, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report that caused distress and anxiety for many of us. The world’s top authorities on climate change told us of the “clear influence” human activity has on more intense and frequent heat waves, wildfires, and droughts, along with other impacts.

On a hopeful note, the report also shows that changing course is still in our power. In the very lowest of five scenarios for future CO2 emissions, the world is likely to hit the Paris Agreement’s target of 1.5°C of warming in the next 20 years, before cooling later this century to 1.4°C. Now, more than ever, is the time to make our politicians know our needs and concerns. Canada’s new 45% emissions reduction target by 2030 is too conservative for a 1.5C world, and the government need to know we won’t accept that.


So, what can we do to respond to this “code red”? The first step is to take a deep breath. The second is to take action.

  1. Know that our actions matter. Our decisions make a difference, and the most beneficial thing we can do for the planet is reducing how much we consume. Knowing that our choices matter is empowering!
  2. Respect your mental health. If climate change is hitting you hard, we have resources. The Gen Dread newsletter is a weekly newsletter on “staying sane in the climate crisis”, and the All We Can Save Project provides “deeper dialogue on the climate crisis and building community around solutions.”
  3. Talk to family and friends. Now more than ever we need support. Have those difficult conversations and cultivate a support network. You can connect with people online too: the Good Grief Network and Climate Awakening are great places to start.
  4. Look for positive examples. Headlines have a tendency to be grim. Look for the positives in the world, in your country and in your neighbourhood, and seek solace in them.
  5. Demand immediate and large-scale action. As a high-emitting country, Canada needs to treat this crisis with the urgency it demands. Contact our leaders and tell them we will not accept their inaction!

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