This is our moment of choice
IPCC Working Group III finds action to cut emissions and mitigate climate change can and must accelerate everywhere, to achieve sustainable human development and a climate-resilient future.
Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued its report on Mitigation of Climate Change. The report builds on decades of accumulating scientific evidence, and is formally endorsed by nearly 200 nations. The report is the work of 278 authors from 65 countries, plus 354 contributing authors, building on over 18,000 cited references and addressing a total of 59,212 expert and government review comments.
This comprehensive science report finds:
We are not, as a global community, eliminating global heating pollution rapidly enough to avoid a state of pervasive, persistent climate emergency.
The technological, policy, and financial resources exist now to allow us to meet this great global challenge, just in time.
Mitigation actions can build the most momentum when they correspond to improved everyday human development conditions.
A key finding in the Summary for Policy Makers, published today, is that global heating emissions are still rising:
B.2 Net anthropogenic GHG emissions have increased since 2010 across all major sectors globally. An increasing share of emissions can be attributed to urban areas. Emissions reductions in CO2 from fossil fuels and industrial processes, due to improvements in energy intensity of GDP and carbon intensity of energy, have been less than emissions increases from rising global activity levels in industry, energy supply, transport, agriculture and buildings. (high confidence)
That means key levers of action, like energy efficiency in cities, climate-smart agriculture, and clean energy systems, are not yet being deployed rapidly enough or widely enough to stop global heating. This needs to change, urgently, if we are to avoid persistent, pervasive climate emergency.
Last year’s report from Working Group I on the Physical Science Basis for the 6th Assessment revealed that only in the most ambitious scenario of immediate and sustained climate action can we hold global heating to 1.5ºC or lower by the year 2100.
The report from Working Group II on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, published five weeks ago, found impacts are pervasive and compounding, vulnerability to climate shocks is growing, and the remaining window for successful climate resilient development is closing fast.
Working Group III notes the need for high ambition, high integrity, transparency, and knowledge-sharing, to consolidate, expand, and sustain mitigation efforts.
Mitigating climate risk requires mitigating climate change itself, because climate disruption is disrupting the natural systems, with bigger-than-market value, that sustain the biosphere. Each new IPCC report is finding growing threats to food security and fresh water supplies.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been eloquent and succinct in framing the science:
He characterized the Physical Science report as “a red alert for humanity.”
He described the Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability report as “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.”
He is now writing that the Mitigation report is evidence of “broken climate promises” and a “yawning gap between climate pledges, and reality.”
Mitigation is a decision to act to reduce risk. CCI Executive Director Joe Robertson says of the Mitigation report:
“Our moment of existential choice has arrived. The enabling fabric of natural systems that gave rise to our species, to all that human beings have created and hold dear, is now at risk of irreversible destabilization. This report is an evidence-based call to commit all of our talent and resources to building a climate resilient future, without further delay.
“We have the scientific understanding, the technology, the logistics of global exchange and knowledge-sharing, required to address this challenge. Our best future is waiting in policy, planning, innovation, and finance that are inclusive, sustainable, and climate-smart. There is no moral, technical, or practical excuse for not doing all that we can to avoid preventable, ongoing disaster.”
The IPCC highlights key elements of the report:
Global emissions need to peak before 2025, at the latest.
Financial flows for climate action are “three to six times lower than levels needed by 2030,” but “there is sufficient global capital and liquidity to close investment gaps.
Unlocking mainstream climate capital will require “clear signalling from governments and the international community, including a stronger alignment of public sector finance and policy.”
Decarbonization efforts have a strong correlation to sustainable development, but the details matter, so stakeholder engagement and context-specific approaches are needed.
The report comes at a time when the world reckons like never before with the question of how rapidly we can eliminate climate pollution from our energy systems.
New research shows the European Union can eliminate dependence on Russian gas by 2025, without building new gas infrastructure or expanding coal use.
CCI has joined the campaign to end further investment in Russian oil and gas, and to phase out fossil fuels entirely.
Continuing to explore and expand future fossil fuel production increases the chances we will see catastrophic food insecurity and related political destabilization.
In a recent Resilience Intel brief, we reported that “The most rational way forward is to rapidly move away from fossil fuels,” outlining technologies and financial resources that can be deployed to make it happen.
No new fossil fuel infrastructure can be built, if we are going to avoid unmanageable climate emergency. Energy systems transformation must move at unprecedented pace, and reach every part of the global economy. The most marginalized communities need affordable access to climate-smart systems for energy, industry, transport, finance, and food.
Both advanced and developing economies need to make sure everyday price signals move us away from destabilizating pollutants. CCI supports climate income as a people-centered strategy for pricing carbon pollution. Such policies:
Apply a steadily rising fee at the point where carbon-emitting fuels enter the economy (the mine, well, or port of entry);
Return all revenues to households, in equal shares, safeguarding the most vulnerable and sustaining everyday economic activity, while polluters take on the true costs of their business model;
Adjust at the border, allowing climate income countries to join the club of nations trading freely to achieve a climate-smart future.
We also recognize the power of other “non-market approaches” to cooperative decarbonization, under Article 6.8 of the Paris Agreement—including financial regulation, development finance conditionalities, climate bonds, and special drawing rights—as climate action accelerators.
In the coming weeks and months, CCI local chapters and national and regional networks will be meeting with public officials to deliver this call for fast-moving, people-driven transformation, in Brussels, Ottawa, Abuja, and around the world. In April, we will hold an Earth Day Citizens’ Forum to build momentum for our first global Week of Action in June, to build political will for accelerated, inclusive, just, and transformational climate resilient development.
Cathy Orlando, CCI Program Director:
“I was alarmed by the IPCC 2007 Report. Thereafter I redirected my energies to protecting the future for my three daughters. By 2010, I determined that I needed to focus on championing climate income in Canada. Back then, I intuitively knew it would be good for Canada and the world. I now know with great certainty that climate income is a powerful tool to reduce GHGs and income inequality at the same time. I have listened to experts, including the IPCC, 28 Nobel Prize economists and thousands of economists globally. I am grateful that my government of Canada enacted this policy in 2018. I hope the world takes a good hard look at what Canada has to offer in terms of our carbon pricing policy."
David Michael Terungwa, CCI Field Development Lead and Africa Coordinator:
“Mitigating climate change impact in Africa requires urgent attention. The good part is; we know what to and we have the solutions to help build climate resilience especially in Africa. Climate income policy provides an immediate and effective solution to helping people build resilience while reducing emissions. Sadly, we know what to do but we are not doing it.”
Isatis M. Cintrón Rodríguez, CCI Board Secretary and Regional Coordinator for Latin America:
“Climate change is moving faster than us, there is no room for error if we are to keep the survival target of 1.5ºC within our grasp. Let the protection of the Small Island Developing States be the litmus test to our promise to climate change. Although some progress has been made in climate-friendly technologies, this report shows that what is been done is not enough, our emissions have kept rising by 1.3% each year during the last decade! The future lies in the decisions we make today. This is the moment, how are we going to face it? We have a tremendous opportunity to unlock a much more powerful, sustainable, just, and innovative society. The only way forward is together. A climate-aligned development that centers people and disrupts the fossil fuels of the past that fuel war, climate chaos, and inequity. Every decision we make needs to reflect reality, the rest of our lives is going to be dominated by climate change and we must act accordingly.”
Myra L. Jackson, Geoversiv Senior Advisor on Whole Earth Civics and Member of the UN Harmony with Nature Expert Platform:
“Without delay, the global action called for necessitates intelligent social cohesion in the form of active citizen engagement focused on a fulsome withdrawal from the fossil fuel economy. This focused societal effort must include a vigorous partnership with national governments to activate an unbridled diplomatic effort toward global cooperation with an aim to support a mechanism to fully withdraw from fossil fuels and activate a community-led restoration and regeneration corps to restore healthy soils and build caring economies across the globe, watershed-by-watershed. A human response based on science-based information and appropriate indigenous wisdom toward a future in cooperation with Earth systems. Many nations have gone inward to address emergencies within their own borders and have withdrawn from multilateral diplomacy. We need a return to global cooperation with the goal of unleashing social cohesion activated to make the life-style changes needed to end the fossil fuel economy and achieve 1.5ºC or lower by the year 2100.”
Rob Haw, CCL Canada volunteer, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (ret.):
“No one gets to choose the times they’re born into, yet if circumstances change we must respond accordingly if we’re to survive. End the fossilized blundering-on while wishing fervently for what we had, when what-we-had is a wish that can no longer be granted. Analogous to the brave Ukrainians, it’s time for nations to stand up and take resolute action on climate.”
Gloria Kasang Bulus, Bridge That Gap Initiative, Nigeria:
“We can no longer live in denial. All hands must be on deck to change things as soon as possible. Our policies must speak to the current realities; they must be effective and implemented at full scale. Our focus must be on the solutions, while still bearing in mind that there is a worsening problem that requires urgent attention. Equity and justice must be priorities, if we truly understand that the time is ticking too fast, for all of us.”
Access the Report and related information, here.
CCI is preparing a global consultation on the Zero Preventable Harm Global Goal on Adaptation.
CCI will hold its first global Week of Action in June.
Join us April 22 for an Earth Day CCI Press Briefing.
For more information, or to request an interview with one of our senior staff, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org