Limiting global warming to 1.5C is beyond reach without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors according to the Mitigation of Climate report published this week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
While there are encouraging signs of climate action in many countries that are proving effective, they need to be scaled up and applied more widely and equitably to support emissions reductions and secure a liveable future.
This will require governments to deliver policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also improving health and equity by providing enhanced solutions to active travel, better insulated homes, secure jobs, healthier diets and cleaner air and water. A just transition that supports workers and wealthier nations delivering financial and technical commitments to lower income countries will be needed to secure climate resilience globally.
Co-chair of the IPCC Working Group III who produced the report, Priyadarshi Shukla, said the evidence shows that having the right policies, infrastructure and technology in place to enable changes to our lifestyle and behaviour will both result in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while also improving health and wellbeing.
Rapid, deep emissions cuts across all sectors regions are needed in order to halve emissions by 2030. This requires major transitions in the energy sector including substantial reductions in fossil fuels, electrification, improved energy efficiency and renewable technologies.
Without acceleration and equitable climate action, we will fail to achieve sustainable development goals. However, there are opportunities to both adapt to climate change and achieve SDGs, for example through implementing interventions in both new and existing buildings and mitigation strategies in the transport sector that will result in multiple co-benefits including air quality, equitable access to transportation, and better health outcomes.
According to Co-Chair Jim Skea, it’s now or never. “Climate change is the result of more than a century of unsustainable energy and land use, lifestyle and patterns of consumption and production. Taking action now can move us towards a fairer, more sustainable world.”