Reaction to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report

There has been a lot of reaction to the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report – widely described as a ‘Final Warning’ – and here are some of the more salient:

Simon Stiell, UN Climate Change Executive:

We’re running out of time but not out of options to address climate change

Today’s IPCC Synthesis Report of the Sixth Assessment Report adds more clarity and detail to a simple truth: we have to do more on climate change now.

We are in a critical decade for climate action. Global emissions need to be reduced by nearly 43% by 2030 for the world to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Synthesis Report highlights just how far off-track we are.

It’s not too late. The IPCC clearly demonstrates that it is possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius with rapid and deep emissions reductions across all sectors of the global economy. It has given us many feasible, effective and low-cost mitigation and adaptation options to scale up across sectors and countries.

If we are to halve emissions by the end of the decade, we need to get specific now. This year’s so-called Global Stocktake – a process under which countries assess progress towards the Paris goals – is a moment for countries to agree on the concrete milestones that will take us to our 2030 targets.

This roadmap must include detailed steps for all sectors and themes, including climate adaptation, loss and damage, finance, technology and capacity building.

By giving us not only a plan based on available options, but also finance reform and a renewed sense of political and corporate accountability on climate change, COP28 can be the moment where we start to course correct to collectively meet the Paris goals.

Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at Friends of the Earth:

Once again, with this hard-hitting global climate report, the world’s scientists are sounding a clarion call for urgent, rapid and ambitious action to prevent runaway climate breakdown. While in response, politicians make half-hearted, feeble promises to do more. It’s like Groundhog Day.

In the UK, the government must deliver on legally-binding carbon reduction targets, thanks to our world-leading Climate Change Act. But last week we heard the government is still way off meeting its own goals over the crucial next decade.

Legal action brought by Friends of the Earth and others last year also found the UK’s climate plans are wholly inadequate – the government is due to publish a revised Net Zero Strategy by the end of this month. Strengthening this will be the government’s best opportunity to show that it is listening to the science and put the UK on course to become a thriving green economy.

For this to happen, we need to see a huge drive to insulate the UK’s heat-leaking homes, faster development of cheap, clean renewable energy, fewer roads being built and an end to new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Rebecca Newsom, Head of Politics at Greenpeace UK: 

Forget distant tropical islands and future generations – we have already seen what 40C summers and flash flooding look like here in the UK. The wolf is at the door. For many other communities around the world, like those facing devastating floods in Pakistan and Malawi, the danger of climate change is clear and present.

Now is not the time for despair. We must fight to stop every fraction of a degree increase in global warming. Scientists and economists are clear that the technological solutions and economic case have never been more compelling. Rather than throwing lifelines to dodgy nuclear and unproven carbon capture schemes, the government should grasp the renewable energy system that will bring cleaner air, green jobs and cheaper and more secure supply.

But that also means closing the stopcock before our house floods. Fossil fuel companies have access to infrastructure and reserves that will force global warming beyond dangerous limits. We absolutely cannot risk more exploration and drilling. Fossil fuel companies must stop drilling and start paying tax on their bumper profits so we can ramp up renewables and support the most affected people worldwide.

Dr Alison Ming, NERC Independent Research Fellow, University of Cambridge:

Our understanding of the climate system has evolved rapidly over the past decade. Better observations, improved climate models and statistical techniques have all contributed to firmly linking human activity to the widespread and rapid changes seen in every region of the globe. Modelled scenarios are used to make predictions about possible near and long term future climate change. Our grasp of the mechanisms at play in our climate system has also improved. This gives us more confidence in our model predictions. This synthesis report clearly lays out the latest science for policymakers, sets out the adverse impact of climate change and emphasizes the urgent need for integrated climate action.



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