Our planet is getting dangerously close to reaching catastrophic levels of warming, which is not in line with the international climate goals.
According to the latest UN climate report, clean energy and technology can be leveraged to prevent the catastrophic effects of climate change.
During a recent meeting in Switzerland, climate scientists warned that the global temperature target is likely to be missed.
The report highlights the urgency of reducing fossil fuel usage to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for all countries to accelerate their net zero plans by ten years in response to the report's findings.
It's time to act now. The report emphasizes that there is limited time to secure a sustainable and livable future for everyone, as the world has already experienced a 1.1C temperature rise and is on track to surpass the 1.5C target in the 2030s.
All participating governments have approved the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which provides a concise summary of key findings on climate change causes, impacts, and solutions that have been released since 2018.
The report highlights the severe consequences of climate change that the world is already experiencing, and warns that they will worsen.
For instance, the report predicts that by the end of the century, half of the world's tidal gauge locations, which are locations where sea level measurements are taken, will experience annual extreme coastal flooding, an event that used to occur once every century.
The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is now at its greatest level in 2 million years, and the global temperature is presently higher than it has been in the previous 125,000 years. Even if we follow a low-GHG scenario, the research estimates that global warming would likely exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius. The report emphasises that aiming for 1.5 degrees Celsius and reaching 1.6 degrees Celsius would still be a major gain and preferable to giving up and accepting a dreadful end.
Dr. Friederike Otto, a member of the report's writing team, emphasizes that the report underscores the potential benefits of trying to mitigate climate change, stating that there is much to gain from such efforts.
The report highlights that the carbon budget - the maximum amount of CO2 that can be emitted - for staying under the 1.5C temperature threshold will be exceeded by the emissions from existing fossil fuel infrastructure, such as oil and gas pipelines. Although new projects like the Willow oil in the US and Cumbria coal mine in the UK are not explicitly mentioned, the report's authors are certain about their impact.
Going beyond 1.5C will not be the end of the world, as it could be a temporary overshoot. The authors of the report express optimism about achieving rapid changes, driven by consumers switching to low-carbon transport, reducing food waste, and changing their diet. The report also suggests the large-scale use of carbon dioxide removal technology to achieve net-zero emissions and bring the Earth's temperature back under control.
It's important to state that there are some experts that question the efficacy of modern technologies to curb climate change, claiming that they are unproven. In response to the report, the UN Secretary-General calls on all countries to accelerate their net-zero goals by a decade, including India and China, which have stated net-zero ambitions beyond 2050.