The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the third in a trilogy of recent reports as part of the panel’s current review of climate science. This latest report holds nothing back in outlining the dire situation the world is facing due to rising emissions and temperatures. It also provides clear recommendations to policymakers regarding the kinds of solutions needed to cut emissions and limit further temperature increases.
What you need to know:
- The pathways that limit warming to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius are quickly closing and require rapid, deep, and mostly immediate emissions reductions across all sectors of the economy.
- While emissions are still increasing, the rate of growth is slowing—meaning we can now point to policies that have worked. The consistent expansion of policies and laws tackling climate change over the past seven years have made a concrete difference in increasing the adoption of low-emission technologies and driving down costs of things like solar panels, EV batteries, and wind energy.
- Carbon removal at scale is necessary to counterbalance hard-to-reduce emissions and reach net-zero goals. All pathways to achieve a 1.5 degrees Celsius world require carbon removal at a scale significantly higher than that which exists today. Innovation and financing to address feasibility and sustainability constraints are essential.
Who does this impact?
- Literally everyone! The findings of the report paint a picture of future scenarios for our kids and grandkids, meaning it’s up to all of us collectively to make change happen
- Governments and policymakers
- Corporations and businesses
- Innovators and entrepreneurs developing solutions
Why it matters:
- Time is running out to make the major transitions needed in our global energy sector, as well as in our economy more broadly. Bold leadership, innovation, and execution matter now more than ever to build a sustainable economy and avoid a future of dangerous climate change.
What happens next?
The Synthesis Report (AR6), released in September 2022 will summarize the key findings of all three of the latest IPCC reports, along with additional analysis and guidance for policymakers. The Synthesis Report is expected to be highly influential in pushing governments and corporations to commit to and take more ambitious climate action.
Some additional thoughts…
Emissions reductions and carbon removal are not an “either-or” problem, but a “both-and”. While immediate and rapid emissions reductions are required across sectors, we must also invest in and begin to scale carbon removal now to build the capacity we know we’ll need.
This includes removal from afforestation and reforestation, as well as newer technologies like direct air capture and bioenergy with carbon dioxide capture and storage (BECCS). This can no longer be framed as a zero-sum game between reduction or removal. We know we need both.