According to the latest Working Group III report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is beyond reach.
The IPCC Working Group III report, “Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of climate change” states that limiting global warming will require major transitions in the energy sector. This will involve a substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency, and use of alternative fuels (such as hydrogen).
“Having the right policies, infrastructure and technology in place to enable changes to our lifestyles and behaviour can result in a 40-70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This offers significant untapped potential
said IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Priyadarshi Shukla.
What is more, reducing emissions in industry will involve using materials more efficiently, reusing and recycling products and minimising waste. For basic materials, including steel, building materials and chemicals, low- to zero-greenhouse gas production processes are at their pilot to near-commercial stage.
The next few years are critical
In the scenarios assessed, limiting warming to around 1.5°C (2.7°F) requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by 43% by 2030.
At the same time, methane would also need to be reduced by about a third. However, even if these targets are achieved, “it is almost inevitable that we will temporarily exceed this temperature threshold but could return to below it by the end of the century.”
It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F). Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible
The global temperature will stabilise when carbon dioxide emissions reach net zero. For 1.5°C (2.7°F), this means achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions globally in the early 2050s; for 2°C (3.6°F), it is in the early 2070s.
This assessment shows that limiting warming to around 2°C (3.6°F) still requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by a quarter by 2030.
Closing investment gaps
The report also looks beyond technologies and demonstrates that while financial flows are a factor of three to six times lower than levels needed by 2030 to limit warming to below 2°C (3.6°F), there is sufficient global capital and liquidity to close investment gaps.
However, it relies on clear signalling from governments and the international community, including a stronger alignment of public sector finance and policy.
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
Accelerated and equitable climate action in addressing climate change impacts is critical to sustainable development. Some response options can absorb and store carbon and, at the same time, help communities limit the impacts associated with climate change.
Mitigation in industry can reduce environmental impacts and increase employment and business opportunities. Electrification with renewables and shifts in public transport can enhance health, employment, and equity.
Climate change is the result of more than a century of unsustainable energy and land use, lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production. This report shows how taking action now can move us towards a fairer, more sustainable world
Shipping and aviation
According to the report, hundreds of climate scientists and economists suggest that a better climate governance for shipping and aviation could promote further the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
As it advised policymakers, “improvements to national and international governance structures would further enable the decarbonisation of shipping and aviation. Such improvements could include, for example, the implementation of stricter efficiency and carbon intensity standards for the sectors.”
On the other hand, while efficiency improvements can provide some mitigation potential, additional CO2 emissions mitigation technologies for aviation and shipping will be required.
As of alternative fuels for shipping, IPCC identified low-emission hydrogen, ammonia, biofuels, and other synthetic fuels. What is more, electrification could play a niche role for shortsea shipping.
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