Final Warning: What the last IPCC Report means for the Pacific

Podcast EP 27

Title: Final Warning: What the last IPCC Report means for the Pacific

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:00:18] Apinun Olgeta, that is Papua New Guinean for good afternoon to you all, and warm Pacific greetings. Welcome to another episode of the Pacific Wayfinder podcast, your guide to navigating the crosscurrents of security in the Blue Pacific Continent brought to you by the Australia Pacific Security College. I’m Dr. Henry Ivarature, your host. But before we begin, I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land we broadcast from today the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people and pay respects to their elders, past, present and emerging. Well, last month, the IPCC released its final report in its seven-year-long reporting cycle, delivering a final warning to the world on the severe impacts of climate change and the action that must be taken to mitigate the worst impacts. We know climate change is the single most important issue for a Blue Pacific Continent, and this report provides essential insight into what is necessary to protect and prepare Pacific communities for the future. To discuss the report, I am joined by Professor Mark Howden, Vice Chair of the IPCC, Director of the ANU Institute of Climate Change and a regular guest of this podcast. Welcome, Professor Howden.

Professor Mark Howden [00:01:58] Good afternoon.

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:02:00] I am also joined by Pasha Carruthers, a Review Editor of the IPCC reporting cycle, who is joining us from the beautiful and warm islands of the Cook Islands. Finally, but certainly not least, I am joined by my colleague, Professor Dave Peoples, Director of our Australia Pacific Security College. Let me kick off the conversation by asking Pasha, how have you seen Pacific Islanders contribute to advancing our region and our world’s understanding of climate change both within and outside the IPCC?

Pashsa Curruthers [00:02:48] Well, outside of, definitely it’s a lot of contributions. Within the IPCC it’s been a little bit of a struggle, I think, to get very much Pacific representation in, because there’s a tendency for a lot of unpublished or grey literature. And as we know that the IPCC focuses primarily on peer-reviewed academic literature. So it’s increasing over time. But when I was first involved in the IPCC, my first mitigation meeting was in Ghana in the year 2000. I think what that was the IPCC Working Group Three summary for policymakers meeting. And I was the only Pacific Islander there, and I was representing the Cook Islands and there was two from the Caribbean as well. So it’s not just Pacific Islands, it’s small island states in general. And they tended to be, and I was one of, I think, four woman delegates. So it was kind of an interesting time. And things have certainly changed a lot in the 20 years since 23 years, I guess since. And definitely there’s a lot more collaborative literature. I think that’s where we’re starting to see the papers being written that need to be reviewed to make it into the IPCC Synthesis. And because the scientific knowledge is definitely there, traditional knowledge and local knowledge is very much based on observations and observations over time. But in the Pacific, that’s largely being passed down by oral history. And so it’s a matter of capturing that knowledge and getting those observations of how things have changed into the literature that can then be reviewed and assessed. Yeah, that’s a brief answer.

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:05:07] Thank you Pasha. I will turn to Dave. This report explicitly mentions the need for multilateral efforts to combat climate change. What role do you see the Pacific region, especially the Pacific Islands Forum, playing in advancing the climate action called for in this report?

Professor Dave Peebles [00:05:30] Well, tenkyu tumas Henry and a big hello to all our listeners and viewers out there. May I say it’s very humbling to be here today because firstly, I want to tell everyone that Henry is actually a professional radio host in an earlier part of his life, so I am very much playing Robin to his Batman today. And you can tell by his voice and his professionalism that Henry knows what he’s doing. And I’m just here as a guest, of course, so I’m always humbled to hang out with Henry. But to be with Mark and Pasha today is really a great honour because, you know, when I think about the global experts and the people that have really made an impact, I feel very privileged to be with both of them today. So thank you, Henry, for bringing us all together. I think in terms of the Pacific Islands Forum, throughout the Forum’s history, it’s always had a very strong focus on environmental issues and climate change issues. And given the history of the region, given the fact that the Pacific is very much on the frontline of climate change, you know, I think the Forum has had this global leading role in advocating for environmental issues and climate change issues. And I think if you look at the more recent security statements and declarations from the Forum, certainly those statements make it very clear that climate change is the single greatest threat to the region and that that’s set out in the key Forum document, the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent that this is the thing we’ve got to focus on. I was in Vanuatu recently, Henry, and it was the week that Vanuatu experienced two cyclones and just the devastation that was caused, the homes that were lost, the flooding, the separation of families and, you know, people who didn’t know for 24 hours whether family members were well or not well, alive or dead and just sort of back to back nature, just as people were recovering from the first cyclone, here comes cyclone number two. And I think it really speaks to things that are in the global reports, but also the Pacific Forum’s own documents about the intensity and frequency of weather events and these extreme weather events really impacting on Forum Island countries. I think the Forum as an organisation and also the individual Forum Members have, in my view, played a tremendous role at the global level and I think, have shown immense global moral leadership on the issue of climate change. And I think what’s going to be interesting in the next few years is if Australia, with Pacific Island countries, co-host a Conference of the Parties. I think that’s going to be a really important opportunity for the Pacific Islands Forum to really reflect on and bring their Pacific Islands experience to the rest of the world.

Professor Dave Peebles [00:08:56] The Australia Pacific Security College aims to strengthen a Blue Pacific Continent through learning policy, engagement and regional collaboration. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and find a library of research, blogs, podcasts and videos on our website, Our podcast, The Pacific Wayfinder brings together leading voices on our shared security challenges. Stay up to date on the latest thinking on Pacific security and subscribe to the Pacific Wayfinder wherever you get your podcasts.

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:09:31] Can I turn to Professor Howden. Humbled to be with you sir. Humbled to be with you. But reflecting on all your work over the last few years, what are the key scientific findings that have been Synthesised in this latest IPCC report and the trajectory from here?

Professor Mark Howden [00:09:53] Well, thanks very much, David, and thanks to Henry and to Pasha for participating in this. It’s great to be here. So if I had to sort of summarise the report, it was really that the Synthesis report strongly confirms the information which has been provided by the science community and by other communities, policy communities and those who hold traditional local knowledge and others, and that is, that the world is changing and it’s changing very fast, in fact. So what this report says, is that it’s very clear that humans are causing climate change and that climate change is now impacting effectively on every ocean, on every continent, on every island system across the globe. And those impacts are net negative. So on average, they’re negative. There are some positive examples, but mostly negative, and they are surprisingly large at this point in time. So at 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial. There’s also good evidence that people are starting to adapt to these changes. So they’re not just sitting there and waiting. They’re actually starting to respond to the changes that they’re seeing. And what this report identifies is that, yes, there is significant adaptation, but it’s not happening fast enough or its scale, to the extent that it needs to be to offset the changes we’re already seeing. So there is an adaptation gap which is growing, which is reported here in the Synthesis Report. It also importantly identifies that as climate change progresses, our existing adaptation responses will become less and less effective as temperatures go up and as sea levels go up. And so that adaptation gap is likely to grow. So we need to be paying particular attention to closing that gap and putting in place all of the different mechanisms, the scientific, institutional, capacity building mechanisms that enable us to close that gap, including finance. And on the emission reduction side, it actually again shows that there’s very substantial activity happening. So emissions on a year by year basis are several billion tonnes lower than what they would have been in the absence of mitigation activities. So there is good news there. But the bad news is that our emissions continue to go up. And so they’ve been record levels in the last couple of years. So a record post COVID and then last year was a record level as well. And that is driving up our greenhouse gas concentrations and driving climate change. The good news story, again in relation to emission reduction is the Synthesis report assesses that there are many, many different options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And roughly speaking, we could make a 50% cut in greenhouse gas emissions right now, with the technologies and institutional arrangements we have at relatively modest costs, so well below 100 USD and often in negative territory. So we actually might make money out of reducing emissions. And so again, it paints a picture of, yes, we know what to do, we know how to do it, we could be quite effective in doing it, but we’re not just doing it fast enough.

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:13:08] Thank you, Professor Howden. Just want to take a step backwards and ask yourself and Pasha, how you played a role in putting this report together? I would like our audience to know, I mean both of you have played a significant role, but what role did you play in making sure that report came together? Can we just share with the audience your role in this regard? So I might get you going first Professor and then we will ask Pasha.

Professor Mark Howden [00:13:47] So thanks for that. So the Synthesis report is an unusual report in an IPCC cycle. So it’s actually the responsibility of the Chair to actually run the Synthesis Report. And as a Vice Chair, I actually sit under a working group. And so there’s a couple of layers between me and the Chair who actually runs the Synthesis Report. My role specifically in the Synthesis Report has been, I was involved in the scoping process. I was involved in developing some of the original ideas through that scoping process and the approval process. And then I was a Review Editor on the Summary for Policymakers for the Synthesis Report. And in the approval session I participated, including through, sort of trying to get contact groups and what we call huddles, which are small negotiations, effectively resolved so that the text could be locked in and we could progress with the report. So I had a range of different roles. Some of those were more on the scientific side and some were more in the sort of negotiating space.

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:14:57] And in the role, did you find it difficult, you know, were there challenges on finding solutions? Were the negotiations that you have to play to get the text in place or was it smooth sailing?

Professor Mark Howden [00:15:12] Definitely not smooth sailing. So there were a couple of smooth patches. So there was one figure there, which was the sort of climate science figure which got through in record time. So there was actually no significant government comments about the figure. So it got approved very quickly and that was wonderful to see. However, for most other things, there was significant negotiation over the nature of the text and that, you know, ranged from relatively minor differences to very major differences in perspectives from different countries. And so particularly around things like finance and how finance was being treated in the Synthesis Report was one of those friction points.

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:16:02] Yeah, I know it took over seven years to culminate to this report. So what was involving, you know, collecting the information and putting this report together over the seven years.

Professor Mark Howden [00:16:17] So the Synthesis report brings together the six other reports in the cycle. So there was three special reports. There was the 1.5 Degrees report, the Land report, the Oceans report, and then the three large assessment reports, the Climate Science, the Impacts and Adaptation and the Emission Reduction reports. And the Synthesis Report is aimed at bringing together the core messages from across those different six different reports and putting them into a more concise format. So, you know, more pithy, more condensed format and where possible, to actually do a Synthesis. So it’s actually bringing material in from those reports, those different reports, and splicing it together so that the sum is greater than the parts that are made.

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:17:03] Pasha.

Pashsa Curruthers [00:17:05] Yes.

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:17:07] Can I ask you to share your experience on your role in putting this report together?

Pashsa Curruthers [00:17:14] Well, I had a very small role, while relatively small. I was a Review Editor for just one key chapter. And in that chapter, I was a review editor, one of two. And it was very interesting. It was the chapter on International Cooperation in Working Group Three. I certainly didn’t have the breadth of experience that Dave did. But in the past I’d been a government expert review and some of those other roles when I was working for the government. But this time it was mostly looking at making sure that the comments from expert reviewers from governments were actually addressed properly in the preparation process of the chapter report. Lots of bedtime reading and lots of very obscure hour zoom conferences because there was over 20 chapters and 20 authors on that particular chapter and all in different time zones. And over a three year period we were going through the iterations of the chapter and having meetings where there was negotiations about what was in and what was out. And it was all very difficult during COVID and that actually delayed the overall report by, I think, at least one or two years. So my role was to report back on how the authors were considering each other, considering the material and considering the review into comments. I think it is safe to say that things were left out of the texts that were on the more on the controversial side. Even though lack of mitigation, lack of emissions reduction will definitely mean that severe loss and damages, particularly for Pacific Islanders and basically everybody around the world, but us being on the front lines. That linkage, even in the chapter on international cooperation, was very difficult to make. The way that some of the authors would have liked to have made it, and the way that some of the authors didn’t want to make it. So it was very interesting to see that process. And I guess my role was just to make sure that the comments that were coming in were recognised. I mean, there was a lot of comments on the scientific thing, proposals of new materials, which is another way that Pacific Islanders can get materials introduced, maybe even once the chapters are drafted. There was a lot, because there was a cut-off and then an extended cut-off for the literature to come in. So I think it was very important to see that process and I hope that in future, myself and other people with Pacific perspectives would be able to introduce more of the literature that’s coming out of the area. And on those areas that Dave talked about where the adaptation gap is growing there’s a need to look at new areas, which I’m sure we will turn to, such as marine transport mitigation, which hasn’t really been touched yet I don’t think, and other things like that.

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:20:58] Sounds like a very thorough process for the integrity of the report. So very challenging work, because the world is looking at this report. Everyone is going to be reading this report. I remember, Professor Howden, when you were presenting on the impact of climate change for Kiribati. I remember you saying that the impact on freshwater will be severe, that small island states will have water security issues. Sea level rise. There would be much stronger cyclones. There will be increased wave energy. There will be increased storm surges. And my question is from this report, are those observations that you’ve made, are they going to be more severe or are they going to be more problematic for this part of the region?

Professor Mark Howden [00:22:14] Thanks, Henry. And just before I go into that, just your comment about how thorough this process is and following up on what Pasha said is that my assessment of this is the IPCC documents actually are the most reviewed documents in the history of humankind. If you actually look at the sort of levels of review by the science community, by governments, by others, and the fact that the summary for policymakers is approved word by word and line by line by the governments of the world, there is no equivalent in terms of the thoroughness which people actually trawl through this and make sure that, you know, all of the I’s are dotted and the T’s crossed. And so it is an extraordinary process that we’ve gone through and done which I think is really important to actually provide the best information we can to the policymakers that the report’s intended for. So when it comes to those extreme events and problematic sort of changes that you’ve just identified Henry, the core message coming from this report, I would say in relation to that is the more we understand the nature of climate change, the more concerned we should be about the consequences. Because the levels of impact keep on going up. They don’t come down with increased understanding, but also with increased greenhouse gas emissions. So we haven’t taken our foot off the accelerator in the last 20 years or so, like we’ve kept pretty much pushing down hard and so a combination of the fact that we’ve, you know, continued to generate more climate change and the fact that our understanding as we get into more depth, we see more and more problematic consequences of climate change, I think adds up to a worsening picture. And in particular, we in the IPCC, we have things called burning embers diagrams. They’re essentially risk diagrams. And just a couple of years ago, I put together an analysis of this, which included a historical assessment of how we assessed risk at different times so that the burning embers go back to the third assessment. So that’s, you know, close to 20 years ago. And so when we actually look at this is that across multiple IPCC reports our assessed risk at any temperature increases. So, you know, the red bars of those diagrams keep on coming further and further down. Right. And in fact, to the extent that we had to introduce a completely new category a few years ago, which was essentially the unmanageable and irreversible category of risk, which we previously didn’t have because the literature was actually now showing there were unmanageable and irreversible impacts of climate change. So when we actually look at that evolution of risk, it’s not only likely to get worse as climate change progresses, which of course is under our control, you know, we can go into a low emission scenario. But if we keep on a fairly high emission scenario, it’s also a factor that knowledge increases, and our levels of concern rise because our understanding has actually revealed new issues. And just one example of that, of course, is what’s going on with breakdown of the big ice sheets in both Greenland but also Antarctica. And they’re giving rise to further and further concerns because they’re happening quicker and quicker than we thought.

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:25:49] So to reverse this trend, this trajectory that we are progressing toward, what should our world really be doing, what should the political leaders be doing now?

Professor Mark Howden [00:26:02] Reducing greenhouse gas emissions as fast as we can. It’s so very clear. There’s a very direct relationship between our emissions of greenhouse gases and temperature. And so the only way we can actually put a stop to increase temperature rise is by reducing our carbon dioxide levels to net zero and doing that very quickly and at the same time reducing emissions of other greenhouse gases to very substantially between 30 and 60% and so that’s the only way we can stop climate change and that’s the core thing. But in the process, of course, we’re already suffering climate change and we’re likely to suffer more regardless of how quickly we reduce emissions, which means we also at the same time have to adapt to climate change. So we have to chew gum and walk at the same time.

Professor Dave Peebles [00:26:54] For the latest analysis on climate, environmental, human and national security trends in our Blue Pacific region, you can read the APSC Blog at Our contributors come from across the region and include policymakers, practitioners and academics. If you would like to contribute, get in contact with our team through our website.

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:27:19] If I may, Henry, just following on Professor Howden from your comments, could I ask Pasha and also Professor Howden. 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The Pacific has been very clear for a long time that for the survival of some states, certainly to keep adaptation to somewhat manageable levels a 1.5 degree target is really important. I think this latest report shows that 1.5 is going to be exceeded in the not too distant future. I would just be interested to hear from both of you what are the immediate realistic steps that could be taken to keep 1.5 degrees in sight? Perhaps, Pasha first, from your experience.

Pashsa Curruthers [00:28:13] I think it’s an interesting question for the Pacific, because one of the key sectors that we’re responsible for is transport. That’s really where you could say that our emissions come from and there are technologies out there that can help with that. And I think so we need to start getting and deploying all these technologies at scale that we already have in place. We do, as we said by Dave before, we do know largely what to do. There’s a lot of emphasis on carbon capture and storage. And coming from, I’d say, more developed countries. I mean, that’s something that would never even be possible to do anywhere in the Pacific, I don’t think, maybe in Australia if you consider that. So that’s not necessarily the solution right now, I think. It’s just basically deploying, scaling up what we already have as fast as possible and we’re still hoping, I think, as the Pacific region that we can do this in time to not exceed 1.5 by too much because it is already hard to cope with the impacts that we’re seeing right now. As you mentioned, two cyclones in a week in Vanuatu. It’s just a huge challenge that faces us. But at the same time, we cannot abandon the adaptation measures that we’re doing and what we’ve seen in the past is that choices made 15 or 20 years ago have longer-term commitments. When you’re doing infrastructure development, what you’re planning for the future. All of our 2050 development strategies really need to take into account climate change better still, and start to channel investment into the alternative technologies that can help and also put pressure on the world to take action, basically.

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:30:39] Professor Howden, can I turn to you. Is 1.5 degrees still realistic? And if yes, what do we do?

Professor Mark Howden [00:30:46] Look, the way I’d put it is that there’s an extremely narrow pathway to two keeping to 1.5. And that’s both with extraordinarily rapid and deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, plus, we have to be on the lower end of the climate sensitivity sort of scale to actually keep to 1.5. What the report shows is, as you mentioned, David, is that we’re likely to get to 1.5 sometime in the early 2030s and maybe a little earlier than that and maybe a little later, unless we have very rapid and deep cuts, we’re going to exceed 1.5. The question is how much we exceed 1.5. Is it a very small and temporary, you know, exceedance, or is that a much longer term and more substantial? And that really depends on how much we reduce our emissions. So the Synthesis Report did actually provide an assessment of what those emission reductions look like. So for a 50/50 chance of staying to 1.5, we have to reduce our emissions by 43% against 2019 baseline by 2030 and a 60% reduction by 2035. And then going to net zero for carbon fairly quickly after that. So that’s what we have to do. And, you know, if you actually just reflect on the news over the last couple of days in Australia with the safeguard mechanism, yep, we’ve got we’ve started to have those sorts of emission reductions, that sort of degree and rate of emission reductions in that component of our emissions profile. But that’s only 30% of Australia’s emissions profile. So it leaves essentially 70%, you know, uncovered by that particular mechanism. So as Australia, as a, you know, an indicator, we’re not on track to meeting those 43% reductions against 2019 because our current commitments are against a 2005 baseline, which makes that an easy task. And so we do have to go harder if we’re to keep temperatures to 1.5.

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:33:12] What do Pacific Islanders now need to do to prepare themselves? What steps should they do if we are in a situation where we won’t be able to meet this 1.5 degrees Celsius. What must Pacific Islands now prepare for going forward?


Professor Mark Howden [00:33:39] Yeah, it’s a really important question and one which I think Pasha is best placed as someone who lives in the islands. I can say what the science says and that is that, it’s really important to keep the pressure up to keep temperatures down as low as possible. So there’s a political and a moral sort of dimension to that. I mean, in terms of reducing emissions as Pasha has said, is that Pacific islands generally don’t produce a lot of the greenhouse gas emissions. And there are now emerging alternative options, much lower emission options for ocean based transport. And so those include sort of modern sailing ships, they include shifting to renewable methanol and possibly ammonia in some circumstances to reduce the footprint of shipping. As Pasha said, the likelihood of Pacific islands being substantial emission sinks for carbon sequestration is probably being overoptimistic. There’s probably some small scale activities there, but not to the extent of billions of tonnes that are needed to resolve this problem. So that’s on the emissions side. So just, you know, like everyone, I think just looking at our emissions profile and trying to push that down as much as possible. Secondly, by understanding the science and taking on board the science that prepares you for what sort of adaptation task is ahead so that that’s you know how to deal with the sea level rise which is accelerating. So sea level rise is going up faster and faster over time. And so we need to look at what the sea level rise scenarios are because they’re being updated on a fairly regular basis. And they also tend to be getting worse and worse over time. And looking at how climate change is likely to affect extreme events and similar things. So doing things, for example, like effective building codes and materials, so that you have houses which are able to survive a significant cyclone, ensuring that vulnerable villages close to sea level are actually, you know, relocated in some cases to better places and putting in place the sometimes the hard, you know, coastal protection that protects high value areas such as cities etc. Getting people aware of the things that they can do to protect themselves in the face of extreme events. And there’s a whole series of things there. Really important, though, to recognise that this is the task of all of us, you know, whether it’s emission reduction or adaptation. It’s not just about governments, nor is it just about individuals and communities. It actually should be a collaboration between different parts of our society working together in one direction.

Pashsa Curruthers [00:36:44] I wholeheartedly agree with everything that you just said. Currently I’m involved in a project at a subnational level looking at policies, and I just came back from a regional meeting in Palau of basically the sharing lessons learnt about efforts in scaling up adaptation in the Pacific. And that came through so clearly. I mean, sometimes it’s small, relatively inexpensive activities such as in Palau, they’ve had two huge benefits from setting up a community radio station which we got to go and do a site visit at, and that was very helpful in the last few extreme events around early warnings and also in response to things like vector borne disease outbreaks, just educating and doing that in local languages. I mean, that’s always so important. And sometimes with the IPCC, it’s very scientific, it’s a lot of jargon. And governments also have their own set of jargon. So it’s a matter of getting the awareness raising out into the local languages and carried by local champions. I think that’s also very important to help learn about what options are there. I think there’s a lot of room for cooperation between Pacific Islands. In terms of one example, water security. I’ve worked in two different regions, the North Pacific region and the South Pacific region, on slightly different water security projects. But the thing about water security is it has been an issue for atoll islands for the longest time because they don’t have very big aquifers and groundwater sources under the ground. And now that is under such threat because of sea level rise. So even their growing areas are under threat. But there are some technologies out there, such as desalinisation, but they’re very expensive, very difficult to maintain and run. And so right now, I would say the capacity isn’t there in a lot of more remote atolls. So what are they going to do about their water? For the moment it’s water tanks, but development partners don’t necessarily like water tanks and even communities because they have their own flaws and they only last about 15 to 20 years. So we’re going to have to think in the face of changing rainfall patterns in the face of saltwater intrusion into people’s groundwater. How are we going to sustain these solutions, even if they are shorter term solutions? How can we renew them and recycle them? And that’s going to happen across the Pacific. But what are some of the lessons being learnt? How can we share them and how can we just get things happening on the ground sooner rather than later so that we don’t face real tragedies, I think would be the word. There was a drought in the Marshall Islands around 2014. People actually died because they didn’t have access to fresh water in time and there was a combination of factors that contributed to that. And that’s in the 21st century. So you wouldn’t expect that to be happening so recently. There’s a lot of work to be done. And I just think it really needs to be done. And it’s good that we’re having these conversations and that the IPCC is bringing such attention to it. But I think until you’ve been to some of these places, maybe it’s very hard to imagine if you’re sitting in an air conditioned building somewhere, having, you know, not having any water issues that you know of yet.

Professor Mark Howden [00:40:48] Pasha raised a really important point, and that’s a translation of the often jargon loaded IPCC reports, and the very dense sort of information in products such as the IPCC reports into something that people can understand. And so in a fortnight’s time, we’re actually going to Nadi in Fiji. We’ve got a sort of a public event there and also a policy roundtable. And one of the things we’re launching there are the IPCC fact sheets. So these are fact sheets which actually simplify the IPCC into much more understandable language, and they are translated into five different languages which are appropriate across the Pacific. So we’re actually trying to do that translation both into simple language but also into the language that people actually use.

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:41:34] Yes, because it’s a very complex scientific report. The average Pacific Islander wouldn’t really understand it unless it is explained in very simple terms for them to understand. I think that’s drawing us to the end. But I mean, just before we go to conclude, I want to ask you, what is the next step for the IPCC, you know, going forward with climate change. What’s next after this?

Professor Mark Howden [00:42:06]  I mean, for me, it’s continuing to brief people about what we’ve just done. So the Synthesis Report and the underlying material that supports that. And so that’s briefing governments and communities and others, including that Pacific event in a fortnight. But the next official IPCC event is the elections which happen in Kenya in the end of July. And so that’s the existing chair and co-chairs, etc.. they finish their term and there’s the elections for new chairs and co-chairs, etc.. So that’s the next big step.

Dr Henry Ivarature [00:42:47] Well, thank you very much, Professor Howden, our friend from the Cook Islands, Pasha, for your insights and Professor Dave Peebles for your contributions to this conversation. I’d like to thank you all for joining me in this podcast, and to our audience for tuning in for another Pacific Wayfinder episode, your guide to navigating the crosscurrents of security in the Blue Pacific Continent. Malo. Thank you.


A final warning – the IPCC has released its landmark Synthesis Report for the AR6 reporting cycle, outlining the drastic action needed to be taken by the world to prevent the worse impacts of climate change.

But what does it mean for the Pacific?

Prof Mark Howden, Vice Chair of the IPCC, and Pasha Carruthers, a Review Editor from the Cook Islands, break down the report’s findings for the region with APSC’s Prof Dave Peebles and Dr Henry Ivarature. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

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