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IPCC report: Decisions made now have impacts for thousands of years – climate change challenges can be met with swift and extensive action

Ministry of the Environment
Publication date 20.3.2023 15.02 | Published in English on 20.3.2023 at 15.34
Press release
Kuvassa lähikuva sulavasta jäästä.

The scientific evidence is clear: climate change is a threat to the wellbeing of humans and nature. In the report published today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC points out that urgent action is needed to ensure a liveable future for all. There is very little time for corrective actions but solutions are available.

Press release of the Ministry of the Environment and Finnish Meteorological Institute

IPCC published the last part of the Sixth Assessment Report, the Synthesis Report on 20 March. The report sums up the Assessment Reports and Special Reports published in 2018–2022.

In the Synthesis Report, IPCC underscores that urgent and ambitious emission reductions are need globally to reach the targets of the Paris Agreement. With the Paris Agreement, countries are committed to limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5 or, at most, 2 degrees compared to the pre-industrial era.

The knowledge, instruments and global capital to find solutions to climate challenges are available. The decisions and actions we are taking now will have impacts for thousands of years.

“The messages from science are very serious. We must not feel discouraged, but the concerns should be channelled into action. The crises in the past few years have shown that the ways people and societies act can be changed fast. Now this is an absolute necessity to halt climate change. We need everyone to get involved: the state, companies, farmers, NGOs and private citizens,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Maria Ohisalo.

Report summarises best available scientific knowledge on climate

The scale of IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report is huge: hundreds of scientists have been involved in writing the Assessment Reports and there are tens of thousands of references to different studies. Finnish researchers have participated in the process as well. The Finnish Meteorological Institute and the University of Helsinki were the first Finnish research institutes to participate in the world’s largest climate modelling project. The results of this project were utilised in the report.

“We have special expertise related to our geographical location. It is important to continue our top-level research to solve global challenges such as climate change and make our expertise available to the international scientific community,” says Jussi Kaurola, Director General of the Finnish Meteorological Institute and chair of the Finnish IPCC working group.

Climate change has had serious impacts on nature and people

The message of the Sixth Assessment Report is clear: climate change is progressing and its impacts weaken the wellbeing of people and nature.

Greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities have warmed the climate. The global average temperature has risen by 1.1°C from 1850–1900 to 2011–2020. Climate change has led to extensive and rapid changes in the atmosphere, oceans and snow and ice cover, and on land. Many extreme weather events will be both more frequent and more intense.

According to the report, global warming will continue for at least the next decade, and the limit of 1.5 degrees is likely to be reached in the early part of the 2030s.

The risks associated with the progress of climate change are even more serious than estimated earlier. The long-term impacts will be manifold compared to those we are already observing. The likelihood of extensive harmful consequences keeps increasing as the warming progresses.

An estimated 3.3 to 3.6 billion people live in circumstances that make them vulnerable to climate change. Extreme weather events pose challenges to food security and access to drinking water. The most vulnerable communities that have contributed the least to climate change suffer the most from the consequences.

Ambitious measures to mitigate climate change and swifter actions to adapt to it during this decade would reduce the harm and losses projected for people and the natural environment. Emission reductions will also improve air quality and help achieve health benefits.

Swift changes needed to reach climate targets

The ambition in mitigating climate change has increased over the past decade and more and more climate action is also being taken. However, the current and planned climate measures will not be enough to reach the targets of 1.5 and 2 degrees. Swift and strong reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are need in all sectors during this decade.

In particular, significant changes are required to the energy system. Limiting global warming to 2 or 1.5 degrees requires reducing the use of fossil fuels, emission-free electricity production, transition to low-carbon fuels, and increasing energy efficiency and energy savings.

Climate action requires political commitment and many-fold increase in finance

Climate action cannot be taken without political commitment. Finances, technology and international cooperation are the critical enablers that can boost climate actions.

In order to achieve climate objectives, financing should increase many-fold, both for climate change mitigation and for adaptation. Financing is already available, but barriers to its accessibility must be removed. In particular, the most vulnerable regions and people must be supported so that they can cope with the impacts of climate change. 

Climate change is a growing threat to ecosystems and biodiversity as well. Measures to mitigate climate change and adapt to it can curb biodiversity loss, and they are also critical in terms of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ambitious climate measures and climate resilient development can be achieved by paying attention to justice, inclusion and a fair transition in the actions that are taken.


Heikki Isotalo (requests for interviews with the Minister)
Special Adviser to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
Ministry of the Environment
tel. +358 295 250 262
[email protected]

Hannele Korhonen
Director of Climate Research Programme, Research Professor
Finnish Meteorological Institute
tel. +358 295 392 135
[email protected]

Jussi Kaurola
Director General, chair of the Finnish IPCC working group
Finnish Meteorological Institute
tel. +358 295 392 201
[email protected]

Kaarle Kupiainen
Ministerial Adviser
Ministry of the Environment
tel. +358 295 250 232
[email protected] 

Heta-Elena Heiskanen
Senior Specialist
Ministry of the Environment
tel. +358 295 250 380
[email protected]