Immediate emission reductions across all sectors are necessary to limit global warming and mitigate the effects of climate change. The tempo of the energy sector transformation towards renewable energy sources must be accelerated. According to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), emissions must be halved by the end of the decade.
The report estimates that greenhouse gas emissions must peak no later than 2025 and then be reduced by 43% over the next five years to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Also, methane emissions should be reduced by at least one third by 2030.
The IPCC, the United Nations’ body for a scientific approach to climate change, issued a report entitled Mitigation of Climate Change. The authors presented plans that they believe can limit warming, noting that now is the crucial moment to act.
Guterres: We are on a fast track to climate disaster… It is what science tells us will result from our current energy policies.
“This report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a litany of broken climate promises. It is a file of shame, cataloging the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world. We are on a fast track to climate disaster. Major cities underwater, unprecedented heat waves, terrifying storms, widespread water shortages, the extinction of a million species of plants and animals, and this is not fiction or exaggeration. It is what science tells us will result from our current energy policies,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said as the report was released.
The energy sector accounts for a third of emissions, and limiting global warming will require major transitions. It includes a significant reduction in the use of fossil fuels, widespread use of electrification, improved energy efficiency, and the use of alternative fuels such as low-carbon hydrogen or biofuels, the report said.
Kidney: We have to run, not walk
He stressed the need to accelerate the tempo of the energy transition to maintain the chance of halting the further temperature rise. Currently, over 10% of electricity comes from wind and solar, and that needs to be increased rapidly, Kidney explained.
If the emission reduction policy as of December 2020 was maintained, the planet would warm up to as much as 3.2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
Emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming are at their highest levels in history. In 2019, were about 12% higher than in 2010 and 54% higher than in 1990.
That does not mean nothing’s been done. The annual growth rate of emissions has slowed from 2.1% per year to 1.3% in the last decade. The growth rate in the energy and industrial sectors has been reduced by more than half.
The rise in emissions has been reduced, but it has not been stopped. It also coincides with the impact of climate action, but it is not enough. Humanity must immediately reverse course, climate experts warned.
Lee: Humanity is at a crossroads. This is the time for action, there are tools and know-how to limit warming and secure a livable future.
“The IPCC report before us today is powerful evidence that we have great potential to mitigate climate change,” said Hoesung Lee, the organization’s chairman. He added humanity is at a crossroads and that it is time for action because there are tools and know-how to limit warming and secure a livable future.
To keep the world within the limits of an acceptable climate scenario, the total remaining carbon dioxide emissions must not exceed those of the previous decade.
Insufficient efforts to cut emissions
The IPCC adds that global temperature would only stabilize when net carbon dioxide emissions drop to zero. To achieve the climate goal of 1.5 degrees, there must be no more net emissions at the global level in 2050. According to the model for limiting the temperature rise to two degrees, it would occur in 2070.
Negative emissions i.e. removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will also be necessary in the second half of the century to limit further warming.
Scientists argue that the limit of the rise in mean global temperature to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century is essential to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
Andersen: This report tells us that we are still not doing enough to cut greenhouse gas emissions
“The first two IPCC reports told us that climate change is here and now, and causing huge disruptions in the natural world and to human well-being. This report tells us that we are still not doing enough to cut greenhouse gas emissions,” said UN Environment Programme Executive Director Inger Andersen.
The IPCC Working Group III report on Mitigation of Climate Change has been endorsed by 195 member countries of the international body. It is the third report released in the last eight months, while another, unifying document will be completed later this year to complete IPCC’s sixth assessment cycle.