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Climate report of the IPCC

Still we can make it

07.06.2022 5 Minutes

On April 4, 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the third and final part of its Sixth Assessment Report. The new report brings together the work of 300 scientists from 65 countries. The clear message: Climate change has long been reality. The 1.5 degree target is still feasible – but profound, global and, above all, rapid adjustments are needed to halt climate change.

With sober objectivity, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change already outlined in the first two parts of the current Assessment Report that human activities have indisputably led to a warming of oceans, atmosphere and land areas. With noticeable consequences: Since the Fifth Assessment Report, there is clearer evidence of weather and climate extremes in many regions, as well as strong evidence of human influence on them. Their frequency and intensity are very likely to increase in the coming years. Already, climate change is resulting in irreversible consequences for oceans, ice sheets, and global sea levels.

Specifically, the IPCC estimates that 3.3 to 3.6 billion people worldwide are threatened by the consequences of climate change. According to the IPCC, the regions of West, Central and East Africa, Central and South America, South Asia as well as small island states and the Arctic are particularly at risk. In Europe, four main threats are associated with global warming: heat waves, long droughts with consequences for the food supply, water shortages, and heavy rainfall events or flooding due to rising sea levels.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change points out: Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise

The third part of the sixth assessment report is now to be understood primarily as an urgent call for action. The IPCC provides political decision-makers with concrete recommendations to halt climate change. The report of Working Group III first shows that emissions are still increasing. Global greenhouse gas emissions peaked again between 2010 and 2019.

One small ray of hope: At least the rate of growth in emissions has slowed compared to the previous decade. At least 18 countries have maintained emissions reductions for more than 10 years. Policies and laws to halt climate change or global warming have been consistently expanded in many countries since the last Assessment Report. However, the measures are not yet sufficient: If the targets adopted by the end of 2020 are not strengthened, the climate targets cannot be achieved. Average global warming of 3.2 degrees Celsius by 2100 would then be likely.

According to the IPCC experts, only a rapid and drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions can still limit warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with the pre-industrial era. The Assessment Report indicates that for this to happen, global greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 and be reduced by 43 per cent from 2019 levels by 2030.

How can we still stop climate change?

According to the IPCC report, profound changes are needed to achieve the climate targets: Important points of attack are the energy sector, electrification, for example in the area of mobility, and alternative fuels, such as hydrogen. But also the conversion to climate-neutral buildings, sustainable land use and behavioral adjustments of each individual, e.g. in the form of a lower-meat diet, can have an influence on climate change and stop the warming.

Energy is one of the areas with the greatest potential. Keyword energy transition: A rapid switch to renewable energies and an increase in energy efficiency and conservation are necessary; at the same time, the use of fossil fuels must be significantly reduced.

What means does the IPCC point to for limiting global warming?

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the right conditions have already been created: The issue of climate protection is increasingly coming to the fore. Political packages of measures and social pressure have brought about a continuous reduction in the cost of low-emission technologies since 2010. The cost of electricity from photovoltaics and wind power is 85 and 55 per cent lower, respectively, and the cost of batteries has fallen by 85 per cent. Wind and solar power are now cheaper than electricity from fossil sources in many regions. And electric vehicles are also increasingly able to compete with internal combustion engines.

New policies and laws have spurred electricity generation using renewables and contributed to greater energy efficiency. In general, IPCC scientists believe that digitization – if properly managed – can also make a profitable contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.

IPCC report summarised: Here's how we can stop climate change

According to the IPCC report, stricter political measures, the use of low-cost, low-emission technologies and a gentler approach to mobility are the keys that we can use now to curb global warming and counteract the climate catastrophe. The necessary tools are already at our disposal. According to the IPCC's expert estimate, we can use it to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 70 per cent by 2050 and counteract climate change. Now it's a matter of: Get to work!

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