The window for climate action has not yet closed

Apr 5, 2022, 10:46 AM

Yesterday marks the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report on the Mitigation of Climate Change as part of the Sixth Assessment Cycle.

The report was approved by 195 government delegations.

Last month’s Working Group II Report on Adaptation, Impacts and Vulnerability laid bare the impacts that will be felt if temperature is not limited to an increase of 1.5C. This report on mitigation makes it clearer than ever that the window of opportunity to achieve this is rapidly closing. Global emissions continue to rise, and the emissions pathways implied by the current set of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are not enough to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C. To keep 1.5C in reach, global CO2 emissions need to peak immediately and halve by 2030. Finance must also be significantly scaled up and support the urgent just transition to a low carbon economy, and deal with adaptation challenges.

Despite the urgency of our task, there is hope. The window for action has not yet closed. The report highlights that the falling costs of renewables and green technologies present significant opportunities for progress. There is also clear evidence that - with timely and at scale cuts to emissions - countries can pursue a mitigation pathway consistent with limiting global warming as envisaged in the Paris Agreement and further reflected in the Glasgow Climate Pact, while also developing their economies through a just transition and in a sustainable way. Increasingly, transitioning to a low carbon and resilient economy is the safest and most competitive choice any country, business or investor can make.

The COP26 Presidency, incoming COP27 Presidency and UN Climate Change Executive Secretary are reminding Parties of their obligations under the Paris Agreement to respond to the science; a commitment Parties themselves recognised in Glasgow last year when they acknowledged that collectively we need to do more in this critical decade to keep 1.5C in reach. 

We committed to revisiting and strengthening the 2030 targets in our NDCs as necessary to align with the Paris temperature goal by the end of this year. This report brings into sharp focus the necessity of such actions.

 “For the sake of the next generation and the future of our planet, we urge all Parties, particularly the major emitters, to respond urgently to this report by implementing the pledges and commitments made under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, and by delivering on the Glasgow Climate Pact.”

 “If you really think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money.” 

Guy McPherson

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