IPCC report makes clear urgent climate action is needed. Nature needs to be a part of that plan, says WWF-Canada.


Nature-based climate solutions that are implemented now will drastically increase Canada’s ability to capture and store carbon in the future.

AUG. 9, 2021 – A new global climate science report published today confirms that humans have irreversibly altered the planet and locked in many changes. Altering the path ahead is scientifically still possible if we take urgent and strong action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions immediately. With the window rapidly closing, it’s critical that these plans include nature-based solutions.

© Martin Reisch

The report by the Working Group I of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science, provides the most up-to-date understanding of the physical climate system, bringing together the latest advances in climate science. It is the first of four contributions to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).

With global warming reaching 1.1°C, the world is already seeing devastating consequences of delayed climate action clearer than ever, including wildfires and deadly heatwaves in Canada and around the globe. Canada is already warming at twice the global average, with the Arctic warming at three times the rate. Advances in science now make it possible to directly link the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events to climate change.

While it’s clear we need to drastically reduce carbon emissions immediately, we also need to play the long game, to ensure we keep warming under 1.5 degrees. We know that nature and restoring degraded lands can be a powerful tool in capturing carbon from the atmosphere; Nature also plays a critical role in storing it. For instance, protecting areas that hold immense amounts of carbon is essential to preventing emissions from entering the atmosphere in the first place.

Laying a solid foundation of nature-based climate solutions now will increase their potential to pull in more carbon over time, while also providing co-benefits to wildlife and communities. 

Mary MacDonald, WWF-Canada’s senior vice president and chief conservation officer, said: “This report confirms that climate change is a real and present danger that continues to worsen. It will take immediate and on-going, co-ordinated action by government, business, and all parts of society, coupled with the inclusion of Indigenous leadership and wisdom, to reduce the most destructive impacts. WWF-Canada is particularly dedicated to the restoration and protection of healthy ecosystems as a cornerstone of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and using nature to fight climate change.”

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Climate & Energy Lead, said: “The report is an important moment in the lead-up to COP26 because it is all about certainty – certainty of the scale of the climate crisis and humankind’s role in driving extreme weather events, certainty of how much we have changed the planet, and certainty that things will continue to get worse unless we immediately change course.

“That’s why world leaders must use every opportunity, especially the upcoming G20 Summit and COP26, to deliver climate action that responds to the ambition needed to ensure the 1.5˚C goal of the Paris Agreement does not slip out of reach.”

For more information, contact: Rebecca Spring, senior communications manager, WWF-Canada [email protected]

Notes for Editors:

  1. The IPCC is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change.
  2. The IPCC publishes comprehensive scientific Assessment Reports every 6 to 7 years. These reports are an authoritative source of information on climate change, and underpin the international community’s understanding of climate change and related issues. The last assessment, the Fifth Assessment Report, was completed in 2013-2014 and provided the main scientific input to the Paris Agreement.
  3. This Working Group I report – Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science, is the first of four contributions to the Sixth Assessment Report. The others are Working Group III (Mitigation of Climate Change), Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability), and the Synthesis Report (integrates the findings of the three Working Groups) – all of which will be up for approval in 2022.