By Kermit Hovey

Those of you reading this almost assuredly know that living today as if we have no need to confront the climate crisis threatens ourselves and our descendants. We know we need to drastically limit greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel combustion, and other disruptions we humans inflict on the environment.

Yet this critical time is also filled with promise, potential, and power. All of us can fulfill that promise, express that potential, and harness that power by working together to, in the words of 350 Wisconsin’s new mission statement, “…change hearts and minds, laws and policies, and humanity’s massive systems to make transformational progress toward environmental justice and solving the climate crisis by 2030.”

Two major reports released in February 2022 clearly substantiate the climate crisis’ challenges with thorough, peer-reviewed scientific evidence and analysis:

And now a third report released April 4, 2022, continues the thoroughness of these previous reports with the added news that we have the technology and techniques to solve this crisis:

TLDR (too long, didn’t read) could apply to the report titles, let alone the reports themselves. So, from the combined nearly 6,688 pages, here’s the essence distilled in a few lines:

What has been known and stated for decades is still true, except now with even greater evidence-based certainty: Climate change is really happening, really serious, really human-caused, and we can really still do something about it.

These new reports additionally affirm that:

  1. the impacts of climate change are happening even faster than previously projected;
  2. many positive steps have been taken, but they still remain too few and too small;
  3. the window to act so as to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis is closing quickly;
  4. we need to act boldly, decisively, and dramatically NOW with immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors;
  5. climate, environmental, and racial injustice compound the crisis and need to be addressed;
  6. and per WICCI in particular, Wisconsin faces a warmer and wetter climate future.

To explore the next level of detail in these reports, read the executive summary in the WICCI Assessment Report (4 pages, starting on page 5) and the summaries for policy makers for the IPCC reports Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (35 pages), and Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change (64 pages). Of course, the full reports and additional linked resources can be found at the landing pages for the WICCI, IPCC Working Group II Impacts, and IPCC Working Group III Mitigation reports.