The IPCC just published the final third of a 3-part Comprehensive Review of Climate Science. The report echoes the urgency of the previous two reports, highlighting the slow response to the crisis so far. However, it does offer clear guidance on how we can mitigate the worst effects of climate change.
Here are the 7 key takeaways:
- To avert an average global temperature increase of 1.5°C above the pre-industrial average, emissions would need to peak by 2025 at the latest, and then rapidly almost half by 2030, and reach net zero by about 2050. However, as those changes are highly unlikely, breaching 1.5°C is highly probable, but the panel stated that the increase could be reversed towards the end of the century by massive increases in carbon sequestration.
- The report also looked at how behavioural and lifestyle changes made by the public, such as an increase in plant-based foods as a proportion of diets, working from home and using alternative transport to cars, could speed up net zero emissions.
- Coal must be phased out and methane reduced by a third.
- Total emissions are increasing but the rate of increase has slowed.
- Current policy changes, if implemented, would still enable an increase of 2.2°C.
- Solar and wind energy are now 85% and 55% cheaper than they were in 2010 respectively. Lithium-ion batteries are also significantly cheaper. Electric vehicle usage and renewable energy sources have increased whilst the rate of deforestation has decreased.
- Governments can help by removing subsidies for fossil fuels and creating markets for carbon pricing (a major initiative recently launched by the EU and other nations; firms have to purchase carbon credits from other firms who have excess credits if they want to emit more CO2 equiv.).
Written by Neil McLoughlin.
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