A look back at our Researcher Susan Clayton's participation in the latest IPCC report
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific body set up by the United Nations, which was established in 1988 and charged with providing regular reports summarizing the current stage of knowledge about climate change . It does not conduct original research or suggest policy approaches, but is designed to review and assess the peer-reviewed scientific literature in order to inform policy-makers. IPCC reports involve hundreds of scientists from around the world who meet multiple times over a multi-year period to discuss and organize the report; the reports are reviewed by external experts as well as governments and must be accepted by governments.
The sixth assessment report was published in 2021 and 2022 in three components focusing on the physical science, human impacts, and mitigation. This was the first IPCC report to include a detailed assessment of climate change impacts on mental health. Susan Clayton was a lead author on the report, working on the chapter that summarized the impacts of climate change on human health and wellbeing. According to this chapter, climate change has already had a negative impact on physical and mental health through mechanisms such as extreme weather events and rising temperatures, and these impacts are projected to increase. Many adaptation options are available to reduce these risks, but the longer we delay action the lower their protective ability will be.