The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently issued its synthesis report on six post-2015 findings, warning that the speed and scope of what has been done so far and the current plans are insufficient to combat climate change and that the world will cross the dangerous threshold of 1.5-degree Celsius temperature rise (from the level of 1850-1900 level) by 2030. Even though there is a 50:50 chance that the world will warm by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius in any given year, all scenarios predict that the planet will warm by that amount over pre-industrial (1850–1900) levels in the following two decades. Due to an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events and sea level rise brought on by the melting of the polar ice, this condition might cause widespread harm around the world.
The report made a strong case for cutting carbon dioxide emissions by almost half by 2030 from 2019 levels. United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres even suggested phasing out coal by 2040 worldwide and halting any expansion of existing oil and gas reserves. A better awareness of the effects of over consumption, according to the paper, “can help people make more informed decisions.” – a point that is crucial to Mission LIFE, which urges people to stop thoughtless consumption, start using resources thoughtfully, and live in harmony with the environment. The report outlined a desired pathway for further emission reduction by the middle of the century and recommended several mitigation measures, such as adopting a low-carbon lifestyle. This was essentially an endorsement of India’s Mission Life (lifestyle for environment), which has been widely publicised since it was introduced by Prime Minister Modi last year.
The present scenario
The UNSG stated in his remarks that “Humanity is on thin ice, and that ice is melting fast” in reference to all the warning signs that the 1.5-degree Celsius warming limit could be breached, which could have more catastrophic effects on the entire world, where approximately half of the population (3.3 to 3.6 billion people) currently reside in areas that are extremely vulnerable to climate change. Guterres even outlined an “acceleration agenda” to achieve the targeted climate objective against the backdrop of the IPCC conclusions and asked nations to align their “net zero” emission targets with the global net zero by 2050. He advocated for wealthy nations to commit to reaching net zero as close as possible to 2040. In a similar vein, he challenged developing nations like China and India to achieve net zero as soon as feasible after 2050. China wants to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, while India wants to reach net zero by 2070.
What should be done to control global warming?
Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), also expressed optimism, saying it is not too late to take the necessary action. The IPCC proves unequivocally that swift and significant emissions cuts throughout the whole global economy are necessary to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. It has provided us with a wide range of practical, efficient, and affordable mitigation and adaptation alternatives to scale across sectors and nations.
The synthesis report will increase momentum for the UN climate conference’s 28th session (COP28), which will take place in the UAE’s oil-rich Dubai later this year. This will now serve as a foundational policy document for guiding climate action via discussions through the year 2030. Lee called it “a much-needed textbook for addressing climate change” for decision-makers of the present and the future.