A powerful new report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sets out the solutions that can limit global warming by transforming sectors including energy, industry, agriculture and land-use, buildings and transport. Greenhouse gas emissions between 2010 and 2019 were higher than any other decade in human history, and we’re almost out of time to limit global warming to 1.5°C, the report shows.
It outlines the stark reality of climbing emissions, driven primarily by the polluting fossil fuels which still power much of the world’s energy systems and from carbon released when natural ecosystems are destroyed.
The report - Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change - offers glimpses of different possible futures. We have choices and mitigation options that can put us on lower-emissions pathways. These result in fewer climate-related impacts and lead to more sustainable development.
The cost of clean renewable energy technologies has dropped dramatically, and the roll-out of climate solutions including solar and wind power, electric vehicles and battery storage has accelerated in recent years - but much more needs to be done to phase out fossil fuels.
The report confirms that protecting and restoring natural ecosystems offers huge mitigation potential by absorbing and locking away carbon from the atmosphere.
Dr Stephen Cornelius, WWF Global Lead for IPCC and head of the WWF delegation observing the negotiations, said:
“We will miss the crucial goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C unless we dramatically scale up climate solutions to rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions. This means investing at scale in powering our societies more efficiently, using clean renewable energy, conserving and restoring nature, moving away from unsustainable business practices and leaving no one behind in this transition.”
Alex Mason, head of climate and energy at WWF European Policy Office said:
“We are fiddling around the edges while the world burns. This report shows we have the tools we need to tackle the climate crisis - but they need to be used much faster and more widely. For the EU, this means bringing its policies in line with science and making them socially fair: higher targets, ensuring polluters pay, supporting the most vulnerable and ending fake solutions like subsidising burning trees and crops for energy.”
Notes for editors:
- The IPCC Working Group III report - Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change - Summary for Policymakers (SPM) was released on 4 April 2022 at 17:00 CEST.
- The IPCC is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization in 1988 to provide political leaders with periodic scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies.
- The Working Group III report is the third of four parts of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report. The Working Group I report (physical science of climate change) was released in August 2021 and the Working Group II report (impacts, adaptation and vulnerability) was released last month.
- The Synthesis Report which brings together information from all three working group reports will be released in October 2022.