This report was launched by the international networks Future Earth, The Earth League and World Climate Research Programme.
The launch event was attended by UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell, who emphazised that, "Science provides the evidence and data on the impacts of climate change, but it also gives us the tools and knowledge on how we need to address it. As the Egyptian Presidency of COP27 has made very clear, we are now clearly in the era of implementation, and that means action. But none of this can happen without data, without evidence to inform decisions, or science to support programs and policies."
In the scientific synthesis report, scientists from around the world highlight and unpack the complex interactions between climate change and other risk factors, such as conflict, pandemics, food crises and underlying development challenges.
Scientists note that the potential for adaptation to climate change is not unlimited, as rising sea levels are capable of submerging entire coastal communities, and extreme heat, intolerable to the human body, are examples of "hard" limits to our capacity to adapt.
They also highlight that more than 3 billion people will live in "vulnerability hotspots", i.e. areas with the highest susceptibility to be adversely affected by climate-derived hazards, by 2050, twice as many as today.
The scientists further note that persistent reliance on fossil fuels exacerbates key vulnerabilities, particularly in terms of energy and food security, and that strong and rapid mitigation is needed to address the drivers of climate change in order to avoid and minimize future loss and damage.
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"Adaptation alone cannot cope with the impacts of climate change, which are already worse than predicted," Stiell said.
"Adaptation actions remain crucial and are critical to ameliorate small-scale, fragmented and reactive efforts. But the potential for adaptation to climate change is not unlimited. And they will not prevent all the loss and damage we have seen. I therefore applaud the Parties for putting loss and damage on the COP27 agenda and look forward to a thorough discussion on this issue."