France welcomes the publication of the first volume of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report - Press release (9 August 2021)


France welcomes the publication today, Monday 9 August 2021, of the first volume of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the physical aspects of climate change.

The fruit of international collaboration between nearly 250 scientists from more than 60 countries, this new IPCC report presents the current state of knowledge on climate change and its latest trends, as well as new global and regional climate projections – based on various socio-economic scenarios – as regards temperature, precipitation and average sea-level rise in particular.

The IPCC’s assessment is alarming: global warming has intensified even further and so rapidly that the warming threshold of 1.5°C compared to preindustrial times will very likely be exceeded between 2021 and 2040.

To limit and stabilize global warming below 2°C or even 1.5°C, the IPCC reaffirms that CO2 emissions must be reduced rapidly and net zero CO2 emissions achieved by around 2050, along with a sharp reduction in emissions of other greenhouse gases.
The consequences of climate change which have already been observed will become more marked as global warming progresses. These include temperature extremes, rainfall intensity, drought severity, and an increase in the frequency and intensity of climate events which are rare today.

Some impacts, such as rising sea levels and melting ice caps, will be irreversible over several hundred or even thousand years. The natural mechanisms for absorbing carbon, particularly by forests and oceans, will be less and less effective.

The report strengthens France’s determination to continue to act, both internationally and nationally, within the framework of the Paris Agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for certain impacts of climate change which have become inevitable.

At France’s instigation in particular, the European Union adopted a carbon neutrality target for 2050 and raised its ambition by increasing its net emissions reduction target to at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990. On 14 July, the European Commission published a series of legislative proposals to implement this ambition.

At national level, the Climate and Resilience Act, resulting from the work of the Citizens’ Convention on Climate, puts in place new measures on transport, housing renovation and combating soil sealing, which will contribute, along with all the measures already taken during President Macron’s term of office, to achieving our objectives.

Through lthe Second National Climate Change Adaptation Plan (in French) (PDF - 1,2 Mo), the Government is also implementing the necessary actions to protect citizens and adapt all sectors of the economy to future climate conditions, while improving their resilience.

"This IPCC report rightly reminds us, once again, of the real urgency of taking all the necessary measures to fully implement the Paris Agreement, which is the compass for all of us – States, local authorities, civil society, businesses and NGOs – to limit global warming and its consequences. COP26, which will be held in Glasgow in November, is a crucial meeting to raise the world’s ambition in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. French diplomacy is fully mobilized alongside Britain’s COP26 presidency and is calling on all States which have not yet done so to raise and implement their national climate targets, as the European Union did in December 2020" said Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

“For all countries in the world, the IPCC’s work is the scientific cornerstone on which to base our climate policies. Seven years after its last assessment, the IPCC anticipates an acceleration of global warming and an intensification of the dramatic events we’re already experiencing on every continent. Faced with this threat, there’s a clear line to be taken: apply the Paris Agreement in full and everywhere, both to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to increasingly extreme climate events. Europe has set an example with the raising of our ambition to cut net emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990, and with the “Fit for 55” package. The challenge is huge, because it involves moving away from a civilization which has been based on fossil fuels for several centuries, in just one decade. With a €30-billion green investment recovery plan, the Climate and Resilience Act, and determined European and international efforts to decarbonize the global economy, France is putting up a fight” said Barbara Pompili, Minister for the Ecological Transition.

“Research has a duty to deepen our knowledge of the phenomena linked to climate disruption, and higher education has a mission to raise awareness and educate all students about the challenges of the ecological transition and the objectives of sustainable development. The IPCC’s new assessment is implacable: no region of the world is spared by climate change and populations are now suffering its very direct consequences. I want to pay tribute to the efforts of excellent researchers from all over the world who are alerting us, with the utmost scientific rigour, to what awaits us collectively if we do not adopt the new approaches required. Many efforts have already been made on a global scale, but we must go further. Our planet is our most precious asset, and it’s urgent to act”, said Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.

For more than 30 years, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been assessing the state of knowledge on climate evolution, its causes and impacts. It also identifies opportunities to limit the extent of global warming and the severity of its impacts, and adapt to expected changes.

The IPCC reports provide a regular overview of the most advanced knowledge. This scientific work is at the heart of international climate negotiations. It is also crucial for alerting decision-makers and civil society.

In France, many research teams work on these subjects, involving several hundred scientists, who contribute to the various phases of drafting the IPCC reports. France’s financial contribution to the IPCC budget amounts to €1 million per year.