This week the IPCC published its latest Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) on the level of understanding of climate change, its widespread impacts and risks, and mitigation and adaptation, based on peer-reviewed scientific research. The current verdict: the pace and scale of climate action are insufficient to tackle climate change.
The latest findings suggest that humanity’s role was ‘unequivocal’ in driving the 1.1°C of global warming since the industrial revolution, with GHG emissions continuing to rise. Widespread and rapid changes have occurred causing the earth’s interdependent physical systems to become unstable, leading to catastrophic and unprecedented adverse global weather conditions. The report highlights that policies and laws aimed at addressing mitigation have consistently expanded while targets have failed to be met. It now seems inevitable that there is very little chance of keeping the world from warming by more than 1.5°C, something that could become a reality by the 2030’s.
That said, there is hope.
Pathways consistent with 1.5°C and 2°C carbon budgets imply rapid, deep, and in most cases immediate GHG emission reductions in all sectors. Meaningful action is required from governments to accelerate new energy policies to lessen the reliance on fossil fuels. Low-emission technologies are becoming more affordable, with many low or zero emissions options now available for energy, buildings, transport, and industry. The IPCC states that the actions of people can make a difference to the overall picture with some observers saying that cuts of 40-70% of projected 2050 emissions could come from end-use measures. Fundamentally it is a necessity to have increased access to global funds to finance the climate action that will rapidly reduce emissions and provide support needed to protect communities disproportionately affected by global warming.
Whilst the report may appear a disheartening insight to reality, it presents itself as a survival guide for humanity and provides valuable insights into the necessary changes required to save our planet.