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We have 3 years to reverse course, major climate reports find

Image for article titled'Now or Never': We've got 3 years to reverse course, big climate report finds

photo: Michael Prost (AP)

To avoid the worst effects of climate change, the world needs to make a serious about-face to curb our emissions over the next three years, according to a strong new report. It is possible, concludes the report released Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – but only with serious, immediate and sustained action in all sectors of society.

And we have very little wiggle room when it comes to our dependence on oil, gas and coal. The amount of fossil fuel infrastructure that currently exists or is planned around the world is enough to push us to warming levels in excess of the targets set out in the Paris Agreement, the report finds.

“It’s now or never if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F),” IPCC Working Group III co-chair Jim Skea said in a statement. “Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across sectors, it will be impossible.”

What does the IPCC report say

Every six to seven years, hundreds of scientists from around the world gather to review tens of thousands of scientific studies on climate change and publish their aggregate results in three segments that shape climate knowledge and guide policy around the world; this is the sixth version of this process. The newest first segmenton the physical science behind climate change, was released last summer and found that the world is on track to exceed the Paris Agreement’s minimum warming limit sooner than expected, with some extremely serious results. the second outlines how climate change is and will be affecting ecosystems, wildlife and human society, and was published in late February.

Today’s part deals with what actually needs to be done do about all the dismal findings laid out in the other two reports – in other words, assessing the chance of fixing how fucked up we are. This particular segment is particularly important because of the timing: the next version of the IPCC report is likely to be released later this decade, having already passed some crucial milestones in reducing our emissions. If any report is going to help start the ass of the world, this is it.

Necessary Actions

The report finds that it is still possible for the world to turn things around – and there are some positive signs that we are reversing course, as the growth rate of global greenhouse gas emissions has slowed over the past decade. But the call to action is also more urgent than ever.

The Paris Agreement set a minimum target of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), with an expanded target of limiting emissions to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). According to this report, to stay below 1.5 degrees, global greenhouse gas emissions must peak no later than 2025 and fall by 43% by 2030, an almost impossible magnitude. Thanks to the amount of emissions we’ve already put into the atmosphere, we’ll almost certainly surpass 1.5 degrees in the next few decades, but hitting those targets can help us turn the curve back down to more manageable levels to lower .

Early retirement or reduced use of energy-related fossil-fuel infrastructure, the report says, is key to achieving this. Even if we suddenly stopped building pipelines, coal-fired power plants and other types of infrastructure tomorrow, emissions from the world’s existing infrastructure would still be enough to push us above 1.5 degrees Celsius, the report says. Including the emissions from planned investments in fossil fuel range extension would put us above 2 degrees Celsius.

The report also throws cold water at the effectiveness of strategies that many companies – including fossil fuel companies – have increasingly touted as equivalent to cutting emissions. Bigger technologies that get a lot of lip service from technocrats, including carbon capture and storage and nuclear power, have had “slower growth rates” than smaller solutions like wind and solar. Carbon removal technologies, meanwhile, have not yet been effective enough to replace deep and serious emissions cuts, and while tree planting, soil conservation and other forms of conservation will be necessary, they are not a patchwork for further use of fossil fuels.

A turbulent release

The release of the report was not without some drama at key points in the text. While scientists compile the reports themselves, representatives from each country approve a summary of the findings destined to shape policy and go through the document line by line.

That process dragged on in earnest over the weekend, making this report the longest talks in years History of the IPCC Process. One of the key issues, sources said Messages points of salehow strong it was to issue statements calling for the end of fossil fuel use, with representatives from countries like Saudi Arabia urging softer language that would not overly vilify fossil fuels.

The tumult surrounding the release of the report shows how difficult the process of putting this ship back on track will be. The changes we need will require “political courage,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program. said the Washington Post. “That’s what it takes – the ability to see beyond current interests.”

https://gizmodo.com/it-s-now-or-never-we-have-3-years-to-reverse-course-1848745616 We have 3 years to reverse course, major climate reports find

Adam Bradshaw

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