UN climate experts said Monday that humanity has less than three years to halt the rise of planet-warming carbon emissions and less than a decade to cut them in half, warning that the world is in a last-ditch effort to preserve a “livable future.”
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that existing practices are bringing the world toward catastrophic temperature rises.
They claimed that the nations of the globe are putting our future in jeopardy.
In a stinging statement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the 2,800-page report reveals “a litany of unmet climate commitments,” describing it as “by far the most thorough evaluation of how to limit global warming ever created.”
“Some political and business leaders say one thing and do something else. Simply put, they’re deceiving you. And the consequences will be disastrous “According to Guterres.
The IPCC recently released the first two parts of a three-part series of massive scientific assessments on how greenhouse gas emissions are heating the planet and what that means for life on Earth.
What we can do about it is outlined in this third report.
“We’ve arrived at a fork in the road,” stated IPCC Chairman Hoesung Lee. “The choices we make now will determine whether or not we will be able to live in a sustainable future. We have the means and know-how to keep global warming to a minimum.”
These tools, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, are “firmly within our grasp”: “The world’s nations must be brave enough to employ them.”
The answers affect practically every element of modern life, necessitate enormous investment, and require “urgent action,” according to the IPCC.
Stopping further increases in greenhouse gas emissions is the first item on the global to-do list.
This must be done before 2025 if the Paris Agreement’s less ambitious warming target of two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels is to be met.
So far, only 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming has ushered in a wave of catastrophic extreme weather around the world.
Investments in reducing emissions will be significantly less expensive than the cost of failing to prevent global warming, according to the analysis.
Scientists warn that a rise of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius risks ecosystem collapse and permanent disruptions in the climate system.
According to the report, carbon emissions must drop 43 percent by 2030 and 84 percent by mid-century to meet that goal.
“If we want to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, now is the time,” said Jim Skea, a professor at Imperial College London and co-chair of the report’s working group.
“It will be unattainable without immediate and profound carbon reductions across all industries.” Coal, oil, and gas are all being slashed.
To do so, the globe must drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels, which account for the majority of emissions.
To meet the Paris objectives, countries need totally phase out coal use and reduce oil and gas consumption by 60 and 70 percent, respectively, according to the IPCC, which noted that solar and wind energy were now cheaper than fossil fuels in many locations.
However, according to the IPCC, reducing emissions is no longer sufficient. Technologies for sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere, which are currently not operating at scale, will need to be massively scaled up.
While government policies, investments, and regulations will help to reduce emissions, the IPCC also stated that people may make a significant difference.
By 2050, reducing greenhouse gas emissions through 40 to 70 percent might be achieved by reducing long-haul flights, moving to plant-based diets, climate-proofing buildings, and other methods of reducing consumption that drives energy demand.
According to the findings, those who have the most pollute the most.
Households in the top 10% of global income earn up to 45 percent of carbon emissions, with two-thirds of them living in industrialized countries.
“As citizens, investors, consumers, role models, and professionals, individuals with high socioeconomic status contribute disproportionately to emissions and have the biggest potential for emissions reductions,” according to the IPCC.
Industry accounted for 34% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, with agriculture, forestry, and land use accounting for 22%, transportation 15%, buildings 16%, and the energy supply sector accounting for 12%.
The findings of the report will be used to inform high-level UN political talks, which will resume in November in Egypt for COP 27.
According to the research, recently updated national climate pledges emanating from these discussions still placed the 1.5°C target “beyond reach.”
With the conflict in Ukraine fueling attempts in the West to shift away from Russian oil and gas, commentators say the report should focus nations’ attention on climate pledges.
“As a Ukrainian climate activist, it is heartbreaking for me to be living through a war that is fueled by fossil fuel money,” said Olha Boiko of the Climate Action Network in Ukraine.