Climate: Five points to remember from the IPCC report

Posted on Apr 6, 2022, 8:01 AMUpdated Apr 6, 2022 at 9:19 a.m.

It’s a dense 3,675-page report in which 278 researchers called for rapid action to “ensure a livable future.” On Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) detailed a range of solutions available to leaders to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Here are five highlights from the report.

1. Never before has humanity produced so many greenhouse gases (GHGs)

In 2019, global production of greenhouse gases was 59 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent. An absolute record in all of human history. This is 12% more than in 2010, and 54% more than in 1990.

However, greenhouse gas emissions increased less rapidly during the 2010-2019 decade (+1.3% per year) than during the 2000-2010 decade (+2.1%). After a 5.8% decrease in CO2 emissions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, emissions rose again in 2021.

2. Warming is likely to exceed 1.5°C

According to the report, to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreements (limiting global warming at 1.5°C), greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025, and then be reduced by 43% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels. However, according to the rates Currently, warming is likely to exceed 1.5°C in the 10-25 year range, the report warns. Some researchers warn that the window of opportunity is narrowing.

Limiting global warming to 2°C, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, would require a “sudden acceleration” of efforts from 2030 and a 27% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Without any additional effort, greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase after 2025, paving the way for an average temperature rise of 3.2°C by 2100, which could reach 5°C in the worst-case scenario.

3. Only 24 countries have permanently reduced their emissions

Six of these countries are located in Northern and Western Europe and began this decline in the 1970s. Six other countries belong to the former Eastern Bloc and began declining carbon in the 1990s. of emissions in the rest of the world and especially in developing countries. Per capita greenhouse gas emissions vary widely by country. It is still particularly high in Australia, Canada and the United States.

4. The richest 10% of households are responsible for between 36% and 45% of total greenhouse gas emissions

Two-thirds of this 10% live in developed countries. Middle classes and poorer families in developed countries emit 5 to 50 times more greenhouse gases than their peers in emerging countries. These figures illustrate the large disparities that exist between emerging and developed countries. IPCC scientists also warn of inequality: the more they progress, the less people are likely to adopt environmental protection policies and change their lifestyle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Radical change is necessary to avoid worst-case scenarios

The report insists on a “significant” reduction in the use of fossil fuels. Coal, oil and gas consumption must be reduced by 95%, 60% and 45% respectively by 2050 compared to 2019 levels to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

The report also emphasizes the development of renewable energies, investment in new technologies, and electrification of transportation. These represent 15% of greenhouse gas emissions and have grown at an average of 2% per year between 2010 and 2019. One way to reduce emissions is to accelerate the electrification of public transportation, an option that is “feasible, scalable and affordable,” the report says. The report notes that electric vehicles, when charged with low-carbon electricity, contribute significantly to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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