The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that immediate and deep emissions reductions are required across all sectors to limit global warming to the levels set out in the Paris Agreement.
The report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change, provides an updated global snapshot of actions and pledges to reduce emissions, and assesses whether they will achieve our long-term emissions goals. The short answer is “no”.
Far from the target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, the report reveals that even if all government policies put in place by the end of 2020 were fully implemented, the world will still warm by 3.2°C this century.
At the launch of the report, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres did not hide his anger, describing the document as a “litany of broken climate promises” and a “file of shame”.
“Climate scientists warn that we are already perilously close to tipping points that could lead to cascading and irreversible climate impacts,” said Guterres. “But high-emitting governments and corporations are not just turning a blind eye; they are adding fuel to the flames. They are choking our planet, based on their vested interests and historic investments in fossil fuels, when cheaper, renewable solutions provide green jobs, energy security, and greater price stability.
“Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels. Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness.”
Guterres also stressed, however, that there is a way forward. The report details measures that can halve emissions by 2030 and limit global warming – as long as action is taken now.
“Today’s report is focused on mitigation – cutting emissions,” said Guterres. “It sets out viable, financially sound options in every sector that can keep the possibility of limiting warming to 1.5°C alive.
“First and foremost, we must triple the speed of the shift to renewable energy. That means moving investments and subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables, now. In most cases, renewables are already far cheaper.
“It means governments ending the funding of coal, not just abroad, but at home.
“And it means implementing the pledges made in Paris and Glasgow.”
As in previous reports, an entire chapter is dedicated to buildings. In it, the authors highlight the opportunities to reduce emissions through the built environment.
According to the modelling in the report, existing buildings, if retrofitted, and buildings yet to be built, can approach net zero emissions in 2050. But this will rely on the implementation of policy packages that combine ambitious sufficiency, efficiency, and renewable energy measures, as well as the removal of barriers to decarbonisation. Conversely, less ambitious policies risk locking in carbon for decades.
The report also notes that well-designed and effectively implemented mitigation interventions, in both new and existing buildings, have significant potential to contribute to achieving sustainable development goals in all regions, while adapting buildings to future climate.
To read the report, click here.
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