IPCC report: Climate activist slams United Nations for 'not doing their job' to tackle climate change, Greens say it's 'now or never'

A climate activist has hit out at the United Nations saying they're "not doing their job" to tackle climate change. 

The United Nations released a "survival guide for humanity" on Tuesday, which said the world is rapidly approaching catastrophic levels of heating with international climate goals set to slip out of reach unless immediate and radical action is taken. 

The synthesis report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the culmination of almost six years of work by thousands of scientists representing the most comprehensive summary of human knowledge on our climate. 

The report breaks down how and why more extreme weather events will lead to higher death tolls, refugees seeking safety and food scarcity. 

It also crucially declares we will "likely" fail to reach the 1.5-degree target aimed at preventing the most catastrophic consequences of climate change. 

Climate scientist Jim Salinger.
Climate scientist Jim Salinger. Photo credit: AM

Climate scientist Jim Salinger told AM on Tuesday his book published in the 90s said the same thing. 

"We warned if greenhouse gas emissions were not curbed, this is 30 years ago, very costly impacts would occur in the 2020s, which is what we've just had," he told AM co-host Ryan Bridge. 

"We're now looking at the globe being up 1.1 degrees centigrade, New Zealand up 1.3 degrees centigrade." 

Salinger said if the world doesn't do anything, the planet will continue to rise in temperature, which could be "pretty dire". 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said humanity is on "thin ice and that ice is melting fast" when talking about the current state of the climate. 

"Humans are responsible for virtually all global heating over the last 200 years," Guterres said. 

"The rate of temperature rise in the last half-century is the highest in 2000 years. Concentrations of carbon dioxide are at their highest in at least 2 million years. The climate timebomb is ticking." 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Photo credit: AM

Climate Change activist Brianna Fruean told AM on Tuesday the report shows everyone around the world is not doing their job. 

"Nobody's doing their job. The UN itself is not doing its job and it's hard for me to hear the UN secretary-general talk about all this progress when they allow sponsors like Coca-Cola to sponsor COP last year," she told AM co-host Ryan Bridge. 

"When they allow oil billionaires to enter these negotiation rooms where that very report is supposed to be saving. So is anyone doing their job? They're not."

Bridge questioned if changes are going to happen, then the people who wield power over it should be part of the decision-making. 

But Fruean said that's been happening for decades and no improvements have occurred.

"They have been doing that for what, 27 COPs and we haven't seen any progress. We can tell the people we're bringing into the room are actually halting progress," she said. 

"There need to be spaces where those who are most impacted can have these frank conversations and really name fossil fuels as the cause, which this report says, but yet we don't have fossil fuels in these agreements when we walk into COPs."

Climate Change activist Brianna Fruean.
Climate Change activist Brianna Fruean. Photo credit: AM

She is calling on everyone around the world to make significant changes and sacrifices but warns if we don't climate change will choose to impact us. 

"We also know we can choose change or change will choose us and that's something we discovered when we had the floods, when we had the cyclone recently," she told AM. 

"Either way, there are sacrifices that need to be made and myself as an individual, I would rather choose and be in charge of the changes that I make than having my house flooded and having those changes choose me."

Climate Change Minister and Green Party co-leader James Shaw said the IPCC report shows it's "now or never" to get a Government that will confront the climate emergency.

"There is no time left for half-measures. It's now or never. Anything less than urgent action to cut climate pollution in every part of Aotearoa will not be sufficient," Shaw said. 

"Scientists are telling us loud and clear that we have only a few years left to take the necessary action to limit warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, or face more intense extreme weather. However, among the dire warnings is an optimistic note that it's not too late to make a difference." 

Greenpeace had a similar view saying the report showed there's an urgent need for transformative action.

"Everyone deserves a flourishing environment, with a safe and stable climate. But climate change driven by industrial pollution is putting all we know and love at risk," Greenpeace Aotearoa climate campaigner Christine Rose said.

"This summer, we've had a brutal reminder of what climate change has in store, with devastating storms, cyclones, floods and drought, all made worse by climate change."

Watch the full interview with Jim Salinger and Brianna Fruean in the video above.