IPCC Report: I sent this to my team at Greenpeace today
by David Ritter, CEO
10 August 2021
I sent a version of this email to my team at Greenpeace today. As a supporter and a friend, I wanted to share it with you too.
I hope you got some rest over the weekend and managed to spend some time doing something that brought you contentment and joy.
Today is a huge day for our collective mission. As I’m sure you’ve seen, last night the IPCC’s ‘Working Group 1’ published its contribution on ‘The Physical Science Basis’ to the 6th Assessment Report. It is the most comprehensive and up-to-date report on the state of the world’s climate.
Greenpeace is the only Australian environmental NGO to have official observer status to the IPCC, so certain staff have had access to an embargoed copy of the report and have read the findings. We already knew that there was a global climate crisis, but even so, the latest report is deeply confronting.
Severe climate damage is here and is rapidly getting worse. Unprecedented heatwaves and bushfires, heavy rains and floods, repeated marine heatwaves which are likely to cause mass coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, intense droughts and collapsing ecosystems, will all continue to intensify in the near term.
There is only a very slender pathway left to avoid 1.5 degrees of planetary warming. Every fraction of a degree is absolutely vital at this stage.
Given this, it is so important to remember that none of us are in this alone and now is a time for great kindness to ourselves and to each other. It is important for all of us to find some detachment from the scale of the crisis, because none of us can single-handedly bear the fate of the world on our own shoulders, and there is no comfort or virtue in being overwhelmed.
What we can do is the maximum that is within our power and influence to do, and that is what we are doing: our campaigns are designed to help achieve the goal of the greatest possible emissions reductions in the shortest possible period of time.
And here’s the thing: what we’re doing is working. And our duty in this moment is to maintain our focus.
Today’s news pulls no punches. But if it’s left you scrambling for a solution that shuts down as much carbon as quickly as humanly possible, then here’s the good news – You’re already part of it.
At this moment, our focus is the commitment that we can make to ourselves, our families, our supporters and our mission.
It is also so important to remember that we know exactly what is causing the climate crisis: above all, burning coal, oil and gas.
In order to do our bit, Australia muststop burning all coal by no later than 2030 and achieve net zero by no later than 2035.
Fortunately, the latest modelling indicates that this is possible to achieve, assuming there is enough community pressure and political and business leadership to do so.
As one of the world’s most prominent climate scientists, our friend Dr Michael E. Mann likes to say, there is supreme urgency, but we still have agency. Each of Greenpeace’s campaigns still require further resources to achieve their full potential.
Our role – the Greenpeace role – in all of this. It is to continue to speak the truth, to conduct ourselves with courage and strategic purpose, in the name of love for our people and for nature.
I wish with all my soul that the world had not reached these crossroads, but we are where we are. And in this moment of emergency there is no place I would rather be than Greenpeace, and no crew with whom I would rather be working than our crew.
Our mission is to secure an earth capable of nurturing life in all of its magnificent diversity and we ain’t done yet.
As one climate scientist tweeted this morning:
As a climate scientist, I’d like you to know: I don’t have hope.
I have something better: certainty.
We know exactly what’s causing climate change.
We can absolutely 1) avoid the worst and 2) build a better world in the process.
I thank my crew for all of your hard work and dedication. As always, the most enormous thank you to you, our Greenpeace supporter, for backing our campaigns.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO, David Riter