Nations’ climate efforts are not enough to prevent the planet’s temperature to exceed 1.5 degree Celsius and it is becoming harder to contain it below 2°C, said a UN-backed report on Monday, giving its “final warning”.
There is hardly any scientific scenario in which the world can avoid warming that will worsen heat waves, droughts, and sea-levels rising across regions in this decade, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its latest Synthesis Report for policymakers.
A 1.5/2 °C increase in average earth temperature is measured over base of pre-industrial temperature. The report is the final summary under the sixth assessment cycle of the IPCC and also the last since the panel’s inception in 1988. The first assessment report (AR1) came out in 1990 and the last AR6 was released in 2021-22. IPCC provides policymakers with regular scientific assessments on the current state of climate change.
Having given pathways till 2040, there is a thin chance of IPCC convening again soon. More than thousand researchers and scientists are part of the IPCC exercise and many believe enough scientific warnings have been issued and now is the time to act upon them.
Intent and implementation
The IPCC’s latest report said while the policies and laws addressing mitigation have consistently expanded since the AR5 cycle, there are gaps and challenges. “Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2030 implied by nationally determined contributions (NDCs) announced by October 2021 make it likely that warming will exceed 1.5°C during the 21st century and make it harder to limit warming below 2°C, ” said the report. As of last year, 33 countries and the European Union have declared a net carbon zero emissions target year either through law or policy announcement.
Finance flows fall short of the levels needed to meet climate goals across all sectors and regions. Public and private finance flows for fossil fuels are still greater than those for climate adaptation and mitigation
It also underlined the gap in funding to the developing and poor nations for their energy transition and climate adaptation plan. Although global tracked climate finance has shown an upward trend since AR5, current global financial flows for adaptation, including from public and private finance sources, are insufficient and constrain implementation of adaptation options, especially in developing countries, the report said.
Pathway for planet
As global warming will continue to increase in the near term (2021 -2040) in nearly all considered scenarios and modelled pathways, IPCC said this would almost exhaust the remaining carbon budget for 1.5°C (50%), and deplete more than a third of the remaining carbon budget for 2°C.
To prevent hazards, the IPCC emphasised on ‘climate resilient development’. “There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all,” it said.
“Prioritising equity, climate justice, social justice, inclusion and just transition processes can enable adaptation and ambitious mitigation actions and climate resilient development. Adaptation outcomes are enhanced by increased support to regions and people with the highest vulnerability to climatic hazards.”
The panel has also suggested ways to accelerate climate action by integrating it with macroeconomic policies. The three pivots of climate action as stated by the IPCC are – “Economy -wide packages, consistent with national circumstances, supporting sustainable low -emission growth paths; 41 climate resilient safety nets and social protection; and improved access to finance for low -emissions infrastructure and technologies, especially in developing countries.”