“It’s now or never”: new IPCC warning to governments

smoke pours from chimneys into the sky (carbon capture)
Image: EPA/DAVE HUNT

The United Nations and the world’s scientists are calling for an end to fossil fuels in the third instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, saying there must be “rapid, deep and immediate cuts” to greenhouse gas emissions.

The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) this week released its landmark Working Group III report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change, compiled by thousands of scientists over the past eight years. 

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The central message of the IPCC report is clear: despite affordable renewable energy solutions being available now, governments and businesses are failing to act. Global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 and halve by 2030 to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.

The IPCC said the dramatic reductions in the cost of wind, solar and battery storage technologies over the last decade meant they were already commercially viable and would be the key to decarbonising most of the world’s energy systems.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres blasted high emitting countries saying: “Some government and business leaders are saying one thing but doing another. Simply put, they are lying and the results will be catastrophic… but high emitting governments and corporations are not just turning a blind eye, they are adding fuel to the flames. They are choking our planet, based on their vested interests and historic investments in fossil fuels, when cheaper renewable solutions provide green jobs, energy security and greater price stability.”

“Current climate pledges would mean a 14 per cent increase in emissions and most major emitters are not taking the steps needed to fulfil even these inadequate promises.”

Greg Bourne, Climate Councillor, energy expert, former President of BP Australasia and former advisor to Margaret Thatcher said, “The latest IPCC report shows that globally we’re making some progress but climate action is nowhere near where it needs to be—and Australia is one of the world’s biggest climate handbrakes.

“If all countries copied the federal government’s weak climate response, we would be heading for a 3°C or more global temperature rise this century, which would be catastrophic.” 

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Andrew Stock, Climate Councillor, energy expert and former Origin Energy executive, with more than 40 years experience in senior energy executive roles said, “The Morrison Government has already wasted eight years, and the decisions we make today determine our long-term future. This latest IPCC report makes it clear that we are running out of time. Our window to avoid the worst of climate change is rapidly closing. 

“Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of fossil fuels and we have the highest emissions per capita among large developed nations. By strengthening our climate commitments and actions this decade, we can have a huge impact on the future of our planet.” 

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