Climate change risks estimated higher today than 20 years ago

A photograph of a section of iceberg breaking off the main berg and plunging into the sea.
9 October 2020

The risks of climate change are generally considered by the UN climate panel to be higher today than the estimates of 20 years ago. This is stated in a publication in Nature Reviews: Earth and Environment. Scientists from VUB and UCLouvain contributed to the study. The study highlights the urgent need to act and the benefit of continuing to invest in science. 

The international study examined, among other things, the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published since 2001. These reports assess the risks of climate change to human and natural systems and present the main results using a colour scale that shows the increase in risks from white to red and purple, known as “burning embers” diagrams.

This is the first time that the levels of risk at given temperatures have been compared in a standardised manner. Researchers from VUB and UCLouvain, among others, show that the risks for a certain level of warming have generally increased with each new assessment, through the inclusion of new and more complete scientific information.

Read the full article on the VUB Today website, featuring research for which Prof Mark Howden was a co-author