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Guardian Survey of IPCC Climate Scientists in 2024 Reveals Civilisation on the Brink

Guardian Survey of IPCC Climate Scientists 2024
Danger – the writing is on the wall. Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

On the 31st January 2024, the Guardian reached out to authors and editors who’ve contributed to IPCC reports, over the last 6 years (2018 or later) to complete a climate survey. They had responses from 380 people, spanning 35 countries and covering every continent. You can find the results, and read Damian Carrington’s fantastic Guardian articles here and here. This blog is a summary of the survey results.

The survey is vital to understand for everyone, and especially for those who wish to bring new life onto the planet in this civilisation-defining century. They reveal scientists’ fears of a world on the brink of uncontrollable climate chaos, and mass loss of life.

Climate context

In 2015 at the Paris Climate Summit, world leaders agreed to limit warming to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels, and ideally to no more than 1.5C.

However, a few months back it was revealed that global average temperatures for the last year exceeded 1.5C, with a few days even topping 2C. Some people say that breaching 1.5C for an entire year is not enough to constitute a breach of this guardrail. But Dr James Hansen believes that the next few years will see high temperatures and the average across them will still be 1.5C or higher.

Despite having passed this threshold, world leaders kept referring to keeping this goal alive at the COP28 summit in December 2023, when in reality it has been “passed for all practical purposes” as Dr James Hansen said.

Climate Action Tracker shows that based on current global policies, we’re on track for 2.7C of warming this century.

Guardian survey results

The Guardian’s survey results show that:

  • 77% of climate scientists expect temperatures to rise by 2.5C or higher this century, compared to pre-industrial levels
  • 42% of scientists believe temperatures will rise by 3C or more
  • Nearly 75% of respondents said that a lack of political will was holding back climate action
  • 60% stated that vested interests were preventing climate action
  • Similarly, corporate capture of politicians and the media was given as a major barrier to climate action
  • Scientists were also concerned about disinformation, which has purposely kept the public misinformed about the climate emergency
  • The Guardian says that, some scientists anticipate a ““semi-dystopian” future, with famines, conflicts and mass migration, driven by heatwaves, wildfires, floods and storms of an intensity and frequency far beyond those that have already struck.”
  • Comments from scientists in the articles (here and here) include:
    • “I could not feel greater despair over the future.” – Gretta Pecl“It is almost impossible not to feel hopeless and broken” – Ruth Cerezo-Mota“The world’s response to date is reprehensible – we live in an age of fools.” – anonymous“All of the scientists I worked with were incredibly frustrated. Everyone was at the end of their rope, asking: what the fuck do we have to do to get through to people how bad this really is?” – Camille Parmesan
    • “It has the potential to kill millions, if not billions, through starvation, war over resources, displacement.” – James Renwick


In the fifteen years I’ve been in the climate field, the major criticism aimed at the IPCC is that it’s been too conservative – that it hasn’t been honest about how bad the climate crisis will become and downplayed the threat. However, in recent years things have changed and these results show how scared climate scientists are. If those people on the frontline are scared, then we should be too.

Despite the dire situation we’re in, the MOST FRUSTRATING thing is that we have all the technology, people power and finance we need to make the transition away from climate chaos to a greener and cleaner world. The major obstacle holding everything back – and holding the world hostage – is political will. Politicians are not committed to making the changes we need, often because their agendas align with the fossil fuel companies (who sponsor political campaigns in some countries) or with that of certain billionaire media owners who have agendas of their own, again preventing climate action.

In a democracy, politicians work for the people. They’re not in office to bring about the end of civilisation. We can remind them of this important fact by becoming active democratic citizens. The future of everything likely depends on it.

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Published inThe Climate Crisis