IPCC outlines measures for a sustainable future worth living in

The IPCC report marks an urgent turning point: the need for action to protect the climate has never been greater and solutions more readily available 

IPCC

Author: House of Eden

The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC for short, is a warning signal. If man-made climate change cannot be limited, the goals of the Paris Agreement will be impossible to achieve. At the same time, however, the United Nations body suggests that there are numerous, feasible and effective options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Options that are now available.

IPCC report highlights casualties and damage

As early as 2018, the IPCC referred to the unprecedented challenge of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. To date, five years later, however, this challenge has not been mastered. On the contrary: due to the sustained increase in greenhouse gas emissions, she got even bigger. Accordingly, neither the speed nor the scope of the measures taken so far are sufficient to deal with climate change.

More than a century of fossil fuel burning, unequal and unsustainable energy and land use, and consumerist lifestyles are believed to be the reason for this precarious situation. In concrete terms, global warming is therefore 1,1 °C above the pre-industrial level. This creates dramatic changes in the atmosphere, cryosphere and biosphere, resulting in increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events. According to the IPCC, any further warming would provoke an escalation of this.

Such events, including heat waves or storm surges, increase risks to human health and ecosystems. With regard to extreme heat in particular, climate-related food and water insecurity is expected to increase with global warming. The IPCC also points out that other conflicts such as Pandemics or geopolitical conflicts make dealing with these risks even more difficult.

Global warming becomes a question of sustainability and climate justice

The report determines that losses and damage are partially irreversible and may increase in the future. Especially concerning the people, the fauna, and the flora. At the same time, however, it also clarifies that taking ambitious measures now can lead to fundamental change. According to the IPCC, this change is essential for a sustainable and just world. In addition, Aditi Mukherji, co-author of the report, firmly addressed the core issue of climate justice, emphasizing that "those who have contributed the least to climate change are disproportionately affected."

This state of affairs highlights the urgency of accelerating climate change adaptation responses to bridge the gap between existing adaptation responses and what is needed. All sectors have an obligation to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions radically, quickly and sustainably. This is necessary because they need to be cut in half by 2030 to limit warming to 1,5 °C.

IPCC outlines measures for climate-resilient development

The solution: A climate-resilient development. This means that measures to adapt to climate change are combined with actions to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in a way that yields greater benefits. IPCC Chairman Hoesung Lee emphasized that effective climate protection measures not only reduce losses and damage, but also bring benefits. For example, one would use low-carbon electrification, walking, cycling and public transport improve air quality, health and job opportunities, and ensure greater equity.

However, in order to be effective, these measures need to be rooted in different values ​​and worldviews, as well as incorporating scientific evidence and local knowledge. According to forecasts in the IPCC report, this approach would facilitate climate-resilient development and enable locally appropriate, socially acceptable solutions.

Prerequisites for sustainable change pose challenges for politicians

Christopher Trisos, co-author of the report, addressed an imperative condition for forced, positive change: finance. Accelerating climate protection and reducing climate risk for low-income and marginalized communities are only possible if previously insufficient and unbalanced funds are increased. This was a clear appeal to governments to mobilize public funds and investors to remove obstacles. After all, there is enough global capital to increase financing for climate investments and mitigate climate damage.

In addition to funding, the final report identifies (upscaled) political commitment, coordinated action, international cooperation, ecosystem protection and integrative governance as relevant for effective and equitable climate action. In addition, technology and know-how are the key to reducing risks in vulnerable regions.

Cities would, on the other hand, offer the opportunity for ambitious climate protection measures worldwide that contribute to sustainable development. For example, the IPCC identifies changes in the food sector and transport as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions efficiently. Furthermore, one could increased awareness of consumers help them make informed consumption decisions.

Immediate action should mark a turning point

"If we act now, we can still ensure a livable, sustainable future for all," Lee said. Ultimately, the statement by the IPCC chairmanship underscores the positive opportunities available to deal with climate change, despite the report's admonishing appeal. At least if we use them immediately. This awareness is of the highest relevance, since climate-friendly development is made more difficult with every further warming. The next few years will decide the future of the coming generations, which is why the findings of the IPCC report must be more relevant than ever at this turning point.

Unanswered questions regarding the financing of climate investments in the Global South point to a productive strategy: international cooperation. In our diverse world community, responsibilities and opportunities are distributed differently. So some can make a lot of change, while others need support to manage the change, according to the IPCC.

What is the IPCC? 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the United Nations body for evaluating the scientific evidence on climate change. An essential part of this process is an open and transparent review by experts and member governments. In this way, the IPCC ensures an objective assessment and a wide range of views and expertise. 

The IPCC publishes a comprehensive assessment report every six to seven years. The final report described here is part of the sixth evaluation report.

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