We could cut emissions in half by 2030 if we act now, according to the latest IPCC report

April 5, 2022 | IPCC

The evidence is clear: we need to act now. Because we can cut our emissions in half by 2030

In 2010-2019, the average annual greenhouse gas emissions worldwide were at the highest level in human history. But the growth rate has slowed. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C is unfeasible without deep emissions reductions in all sectors. However, there is mounting evidence for climate action, scientists said in the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released April 4.

We have options in all sectors to at least halve emissions by 2030

To limit global warming, major transitions in the energy sector are needed. This means a substantial reduction in the use of fossil fuels, a switch to electric everywhere, becoming even more energy efficient, and the use of alternative fuels (such as hydrogen).

“The right policies, infrastructure, and technology to enable changes in our lifestyles and behaviors can combine to achieve a 40-70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This offers many opportunities,” said IPCC Working Group III co-chair Priyadarshi Shukla. “The evidence also shows that these lifestyle changes can improve our health and well-being.”

To reduce emissions in industry, materials must be used more efficiently, products must be reused and recycled and waste is kept to a minimum. For basic materials, including steel, building materials and chemicals, the production processes that emit little or no greenhouse gas are in their pilot to near-commercial phase. This sector accounts for about a quarter of global emissions. Achieving Net Zero is a major challenge. It requires new production processes, low-emission and zero-emission electricity, hydrogen and, where necessary, CO 2 capture and storage.

Agriculture, forestry and other land uses can deliver large-scale reductions and also remove and store carbon dioxide on a large scale. However, land alone cannot compensate for delayed emission reductions in other sectors. This will benefit biodiversity, help us adapt to climate change, and secure our livelihoods, food, water and timber resources.

The coming years are crucial

In the assessed scenarios, limiting warming to around 1.5°C requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak by 2025 at the latest and to be reduced by 43% by 2030; at the same time, methane should also be reduced by about a third. Even if we do this, it is almost inevitable that we will temporarily exceed this temperature limit, but it could be lower again by the end of the century.

“It’s now or never if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C,” said IPCC Working Group III co-chair Jim Skea. “It is impossible without major emission reductions in all sectors.” The global temperature stabilizes when carbon dioxide emissions reach zero. For 1.5°C, this means that worldwide zero CO 2 emissions must be achieved by the beginning of the 2050s; for 2°C it will be early 2070.

“Climate change is the result of more than a century of unsustainable energy and land use, lifestyles, consumption and production patterns,” says Skea. “This report shows how taking action now can lead us to a fairer, more sustainable world.”

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Source: IPCC, link to the whole Climate Change Mitigation Report
Go straight to the Summary for Policymakers .

Also read:
Climate action for the private sector in 6 steps
Paper ‘ Achieving Absolute zero emissions by certification ‘

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