The third and final instalment of the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) sixth assessment report released overnight provides clear direction to governments on what is needed to prevent irreversible climate breakdown.
The final summary, agreed by all 195 of the world’s governments, focusses on the need for deep and immediate cuts to emissions paired with a sixfold increase in investment to support the shift to a low carbon future.
It says greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 and be followed by a steep decline to meet the target of limiting future heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
The report also calculates that the costs associated with halving global emissions by 2030 are minimal, resulting in the forecast doubling of global GDP by 2050 being just 1-2% lower, while pointing out that the human and economic costs of not doing so are far greater.
David Pocock, community-endorsed Independent senate candidate in the ACT, called on the Australian Government to heed the advice of the world’s scientists.
“The IPCC report is the result of some seven year’s meticulous work by the best scientific minds examining hard evidence,” David said.
“The IPCC’s findings underscore the need for urgent action, providing a window of just 30 months in which we must stop increasing emissions.
“Their advice is unequivocal when it comes to new fossil fuel projects being something the world simply can’t afford, as well as the huge risks of any policy approach that relies on unproven technologies.
“Most importantly, the IPCC shows that we still have an opportunity to avoid the effects of climate breakdown becoming irreversible.
“As the director of the energy and climate programme at the Center for International Environmental Law Nikki Reisch points out, any potential limits on realising this opportunity are not scientific or technological but political and economic.
“This is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss and Australia can, and must, show leadership. This is an economic opportunity that has significant savings for Australian households if governments get the policy right.
The IPCC report underscores the importance of growing new forests and restoring soils but says these measures alone will not be enough to compensate if fossil fuel use is not phased out. It also points to dramatic falls in the cost of renewable energy technologies, in some cases by up to 85%.
Figure SPM4: Global GHG emissions of modelled pathways (funnels in Panel a. and associated bars in Panels b, c, d) and projected emission outcomes from near-term policy assessments for 2030 (Panel b)