Whatʼs going on here?
The planet will likely reach 1.5C in the early 2030s but humanity has the tools to stay within that limit. The hurdle is a lack of political ambition. This is all according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released on Monday.
What does this mean?
Going over 1.5C is dangerous because it may trigger irreversible changes to nature that would set off even more global heating. To limit warming to 1.5C, the report says emissions should already be falling and will need to almost halve by 2030.
This would entail what the UN Secretary-General calls a “quantum leap in climate action”. Emissions need to fall by 7% every year this decade and at best they’re only levelling off.
But the report emphasises there are “multiple, feasible and effective” options to stay within 1.5C and adapt to climate change. Solar and wind energy are the best mitigation options in the near-term, it says.
Why should we care?
The next IPCC report is not expected before 2030, the crucial year we will need to have met our climate goals. So in a pivotal decade for the future of humanity, this report is now the ‘gold standard’ that will advise governments. It’ll be central at the upcoming COP28 summit in Dubai later this year. The dangers of breaching 1.5C mean our decisions in the next 7 years, as the BBC environment correspondent says, “will echo down the centuries.”
- If you fancy wading through a lot of science, read the full report
- Check out the BBC’s 5 things we’ve learned from the UN climate report
- Read our post on people versus politics: can climate assemblies break the impasse?
Header image credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading), Show Your Stripes