The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is due to publish at 14:00 (13:00 GMT) the synthesis of its 6th assessment report, a summary of the more than 10,000 pages of work it has published since its previous synthesis at the end of 2014.

In nine years, the scientific community has established that global warming caused by human activity is occurring faster and stronger than expected. And highlighted the risk of reaching "tipping points", synonymous with major irreversible impacts, or even runaway.

The Matanuska Glacier in Alaska, United States, July 10, 2022 © Patrick T. FALLON / AFP/Archives

After a week of meetings in Interlaken (Switzerland), representatives of IPCC member states approved on Sunday the "summary for decision-makers", about thirty pages summarizing the state of science and the panorama of possible solutions, in a form intelligible by all.

This highly political document had to be approved line by line by the delegates of the countries represented in all 195 Member States.

"We are approaching the point of no return, the exceeding of the maximum warming threshold of 1.5 degrees," UN chief António Guterres said in a video message at the opening of the session on March 13.

Drylands in the world © Nalini LEPETIT-CHELLA / AFP

"Leaders need strong, frank and detailed scientific guidance to make the right decisions ... and accelerate the exit from fossil fuels and the reduction of emissions," Mr. Guterres said.

Global stocktaking at COP28

The "summary for decision-makers" will be a major point of support for civil society, which has its sights set on the COP28 meeting in December in Dubai, where a first global assessment of countries' commitments to meet the Paris objectives is expected.

Keeping warming well below 2°C, and if possible to 1.5°C, compared to the pre-industrial era, as set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement, seems difficult to achieve without a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, starting with those related to oil, gas and coal.

The world is now at nearly 1.2°C of warming and the multiplication of extreme events, predicted by the first work of the IPCC, is already occurring on all continents.

Pressures on water © resources Nalini LEPETIT-CHELLA / AFP

In 2022, the influence of climate change on the intensity and recurrence of extreme events has been demonstrated for devastating floods in Pakistan or Nigeria, the exceptional heat wave in Argentina and Chile or the associated heat waves and droughts in Europe and the United States, according to the World Weather Attribution scientific network.

In addition to the "summary for decision-makers", the final synthesis of this 6th report also includes a technical document of about 70 pages, constituting the summary of all the work: the three main parts published in 2021 and 2022 - on the physical evidence of warming, on its impacts, and finally on mitigation measures - and three special reports (on the consequences of a warming of +1.5°C, on oceans and cryosphere, and on land surfaces).

© 2023 AFP