The long awaited Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Report has now been released.

As expected, it is an urgent wake up call to our political leaders to actually start to take decisive action to tackle the climate crisis. While the information is not really ‘new’, it does remind us of the incredible urgency of taking climate action. Now.

The IPCC says ‘many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion – such as continued sea level rise – are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years’.

However, they do remind us that ‘strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change’. So let’s get to it.

What are the implications for mountain lovers in this new report?

It’s grim, as you would expect.

The IPCC report stresses that what we do now will influence the future. These are some key aspects of what has already changed and what will come if we decide to continue with the current high emissions pathway.

  • Australian land areas have warmed by around 1.4°C and New Zealand land areas by around 1.1°C between ~1910 and 2020 (very high confidence), and annual temperature changes have emerged above natural variability in all land regions (high confidence).

All Australian skiers and riders know that our snow is already marginal, and 1.4°C difference in temperature can make the difference between the misery of rain and the joy of powder. As it is, snow pack in Australia has been in decline since 1957.

  • Heat extremes have increased, cold extremes have decreased, and these trends are projected to continue (high confidence).
  • Snow cover and depth have decreased and are projected to decrease further (high confidence).
  • Frequency of extreme fire weather days has increased, and the fire season has become longer since 1950 at many locations (medium confidence). The intensity, frequency and duration of fire weather events are projected to increase throughout Australia (high confidence).

Please check this report on climate driven fire impacts on the Victorian Alps, and please sign this petitioncalling on the VIC government to act to protect Snow Gum forests.

  • Heavy rainfall and river floods are projected to increase (medium confidence)

Action is always the antidote to despair

The clock is ticking and we need everyone putting their shoulder to the wheel. First up: don’t vote for climate denier political parties. Shift any money you have (including your Super) away from companies and banks that invest in fossil fuels. And get active in a group:

Get active on climate

If you don’t already, join and support a climate action group. Without meaningful action on climate change, the impacts on the Alps will continue. Here’s a few ideas:

Protect Our Winters Australia

Outdoors People for Climate Action

School Strike 4 Climate Action

Friends of the Earth

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