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“Now or Never” – New UN Climate Report Urges Immediate Action

IPCC Working Group III published its report on climate change mitigation

The latest IPCC report “Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of climate change” provides abundant evidence that cutting global emissions nearly in half by 2030 is critical to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The report states that this requires globally scaling up climate change mitigation measures across all economic sectors with innovative policy, new technology, increased investments and more.

After the past two reports gave a bleak assessment of the climate crisis as “irreversible”, the latest IPCC report places an emphasis on actions that each sector, such as the industry, energy, land-use, buildings, and transport sectors, can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. At this point, a 1.5°C global temperature rise is inevitable. But even limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires immediate and extensive climate action.

IPCC scenarios show that greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and be reduced by 43% by 2030. For this scenario to happen, methane also must be reduced by a third. So far, the world is not on track. The report found that since 2010, global greenhouse gas emissions actually increased across all major sectors.

Is it possible to halve global emissions by 2030?

Cutting global emissions in half sounds ambitious—and it is. But the IPCC report points out that the world is not tackling this crisis blindly, as the required knowledge and technology is already readily available. What is needed at this point is for all sectors to start taking the necessary steps on a large scale and increase investments for climate change mitigation measures.

Take renewable energy as an example: The report found that in just the past decade, prices for photovoltaic solar energy units fell by as much as 85%, and wind energy by 55%, making renewable energy technology an attractive and affordable option to replace fossil fuels. The IPCC figure below indicates that if renewable energy is implemented on a large scale, it has the potential to substantially reduce net emissions by 2030.

Beyond energy, the IPCC report outlines various mitigation options for each sector. Reimagining buildings, urban spaces and transportation to be more climate-friendly could reduce emissions and improve quality-of-life for many.

The report also suggested that tools such as afforestation, soil carbon sequestration, improved sustainable forest management and more, have the potential to make significant emissions reductions in the agriculture, forest and other land use sector (AFOLU). While not included in the scenario simulations, the IPCC report also mentioned the use of biochar as a potential mitigation tool for this sector.

The report states that if the industry sector focuses on electrification, and developing energy and material-efficient processes, this sector could also reduce its emissions, which currently account for around a quarter of global emissions. The IPCC clarifies that to an extent, carbon capture and storage could also be relevant for this sector.

Emissions Reductions Across All Sectors

While each of these sectors mentioned in the report offers substantial emissions reductions potential, the report warns that on their own they will not be enough to achieve a 1.5°C global warming target. “It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible,” says IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Jim Skea.

The IPCC report states that global temperatures will stabilize once carbon dioxide emissions reach net zero. However, for a 1.5°C scenario this would mean achieving Net Zero on a global scale as early as 2050.

What We Can Do

For the first time, the IPCC report also assessed human behavior and stated that as end-users, individuals should also reduce their consumption of energy-intensive goods to reduce their impact on the climate. Eating less meat, for example, can reduce methane emissions.

To get started reducing personal emissions, new technologies can help. For example, the Footprint App that First Climate recently tested, can help measure one's own carbon footprint and contribute to more climate-friendly behavior in daily life.

What Companies Can Do

The decarbonization of the economy is an essential prerequisite for the rapid implementation of the necessary emission reductions. For companies that would like to review or adapt their climate strategy, the First Climate team is available as a point of contact. Our team of experts can advise on the development and implementation of short- and long-term emission reduction strategies.

More on this topic also in our article on the IPCC Working Group II report: You can read that here.

Figure Source: IPCC



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