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IPCC report: final warning for global climate action

The new IPCC report issues a final warning for global action against current emissions to halt environmental disaster. We have a last chance to implement immediate changes before targets are missed forever.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently published the final instalment of its anticipated report on the current climate crisis and environmental landscape. The Sixth Assessment report paints a bleak picture of today’s climate trends as the planet moves towards a point of no return.

The IPCC report clearly issues a final warning to the international community. Their analysis is black-and-white, concluding that the current decade presents our last chance to rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions – if there is any hope of limiting the rise in global temperature to below 2°C. Allowing global temperatures to increase to this level and beyond would leave devastating climate implications such as extreme rainstorms, water shortages and rising sea levels. The most immediate impact on the whole international community will be the displacement of up to 410 million people in countries such as Indonesia and Bangladesh.

What we can do

However, the report does not suggest that all is lost. Crucially it details that the tools needed to combat climate trends are totally in our hands and through specified steps, we can reverse or at least limit the damage to the environment. Deep, structural changes are needed but the IPCC believe the global temperature can be limited to 1.5°C in the following ways:

  • Fossil fuels: emissions from existing and planned fossil fuel projects must be reduced to an absolute minimum. The International Energy Agency reports that 40% of global coal-powered plants must close by 2030.
  • Renewables: huge investment is needed in renewable resources to become the basis of global energy consumption. A net-zero world will need 93-97% of its electricity to come from these sources.
  • Electrification: recent progress in electrification must be accelerated and diversified into heating, cooking, and transport. By 2050, electricity must account for 50-60% of final energy usage.
  • Demand: carbon-reliant behaviour and structures particularly in high-income countries must change to alleviate the current emissions in the atmosphere.
  • Carbon: whilst conservation and restoring nature will significantly reverse impacts, technologies such as carbon capture and storage are vital to mitigate unavoidable emissions.

The IPCC report preceded the UK Government’s Energy Security Strategy, which outlines the specific plans and ambitions in place for Britain to achieve net-zero by 2050. The Government’s strategy has been widely discussed among politicians, experts and environmentalists considering whether the plans, such as building eight new nuclear reactors, will achieve the national climate targets and alleviate rising energy prices, for more information see our article here.

Final thought

The release of the IPCC report provides a view of the clear tipping point that the planet faces in tackling climate change. Whilst the condemnation of our carbon emissions and the threat of climate disaster is nothing new, the 10-year timeframe we now have to reverse these trends will hopefully jolt the international community and our Government into action. However, the targets currently set by Boris Johnson’s administration are clearly not aligned with the needed guidelines set out by the IPCC.

Photo credit: Rhododendrites


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