United Nations’ science panel issues starkest warning yet to urgently cut global emissions
3 min read

United Nations’ science panel issues starkest warning yet to urgently cut global emissions

United Nations’ science panel issues starkest warning yet to urgently cut global emissions

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has today published its latest report, setting out the action we need to take to put a brake on global warming, avoid irreversible impacts on our planet and meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C by the end of this century.

With the contribution of hundreds of the world’s top climate scientists, the report on mitigation of climate change shows that, despite growing warnings, global emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise. The decade from 2010 to 2019 saw the largest absolute jump in global emissions in human history, even while emissions in the EU have been on the decline since 1990. Moreover, global CO2 emissions reached their highest ever level in 2021, cancelling out the reductions from lockdown measures at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic the year before.

The report highlights some of the most cost-efficient solutions that could be scaled up internationally within a decade. These should prioritise energy efficiency and sustainable development, rather than relying on CO2 removal technologies, which are so far untested at the scale required.

In the midst of a geopolitical energy crisis exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the report underlines the need for the EU to advance quickly with the European Green DealSearch for available translations of the preceding linkEN•••, meet our enhanced emissions reduction goals for 2030, and make Europe climate resilient and climate-neutral by 2050. The case for ending dependence on fossil fuel imports and a rapid clean energy transition has never been stronger and clearer.

According to the authors of the report, climate policies such as those implemented by the EU and its Member States over the past decade have delivered results, providing a model that other countries can now adapt and follow. The European Green Deal with its ambitious climate targets will become the cornerstone for the next generation of policies, laying the groundwork for a sustainable future for us all.

European contribution to the IPCC

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the UN body for assessing climate change science. It produces regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation. These reports inform governments about the development of climate policy as well as guiding the UN’s international climate change negotiations. They are regarded as the most authoritative assessment of the science of climate change since their production involves hundreds of scientists as authors or reviewers, and findings are based on the strength of evidence and level of agreement across all available scientific literature.

The European Commission’s scientists at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) participated in the IPCC assessments as authors and reviewers, as well as contributing to the body of climate science the panel assessed. Current and former JRC scientists, Paolo Bertoldi and Adrian Leip, were among the lead authors of this latest report on mitigation of climate change. Many other JRC experts have contributed to the broader IPCC assessment cycle, which will culminate with the publication of a synthesis report in September 2022.

The participation of JRC scientists in the IPCC process is very valuable. This exchange of expertise enriches the work of the JRC and complements the body of scientific knowledge that underpins European climate policy.

You can learn about how EU research funding supports the climate science underpinning the IPCC’s work in ‘Science for Climate Action: EU Research Contribution to IPCC Working Group III on Mitigation’. The brochure from the European Commission’s department for Research & Innovation showcases examples of EU-backed projects that explore how to mitigate climate change and speed up the transition to climate neutrality.

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