“It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C (but) without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.”
The words of IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Jim Skea at today’s launch of the latest IPCC climate report. And while recognising the scale of the challenge, the paper also makes it clear that by adopting the right policies and taking actions to “stimulate innovation” the world can still pull back from the brink of disaster.
“We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee. “I am encouraged by climate action being taken in many countries. There are policies, regulations and market instruments that are proving effective. If these are scaled up and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation.”
The report says the energy sector must go faster in reducing fossil fuel use, with more widespread electrification and drastically improved energy efficiency other key actions that are needed.
“Having the right policies, infrastructure and technology in place to enable changes to our lifestyles and behaviour can result in a 40-70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This offers significant untapped potential,” said IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Priyadarshi Shukla. “The evidence also shows that these lifestyle changes can improve our health and wellbeing.”
Cities will also have to adopt better emission reduction strategies.
“We see examples of zero energy or zero-carbon buildings in almost all climates,” said IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Jim Skea. “Action in this decade is critical to capture the mitigation potential of buildings.”
In the scenarios looked at by the IPCC, global emissions will have to peak in the middle of this decade, and fall by 43% by 2030, for warming to be kept to around 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
“Climate change is the result of more than a century of unsustainable energy and land use, lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production,” added Skea. “This report shows how taking action now can move us towards a fairer, more sustainable world.”