The United Nations and scientists from around the world have warned governments to take prompt action to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the third instalment of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report.
The IPCC has released its landmark Working Group III report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change, compiled by thousands of scientists over the past eight years.
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, said government and business leaders in high-emitting countries 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,” Mr Guterres said.
“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.”
The Climate Council has endorsed the report and encouraged the Australian Federal Government to take action.
Climate Councillor, energy expert, former President of BP Australasia and former advisor to Margaret Thatcher, Greg Bourne, 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 Australian Government’s weak climate response, we would be heading for a three degrees celsius or more global temperature rise this century, which would be catastrophic.”
Climate Councillor, energy expert and Senior Lecturer at Macquarie University, School of Law, Dr Madeline Taylor, said this new global UN report comes shortly after the UN Secretary General singled out Australia as a ‘holdout’ with the Federal Government refusing to increase its 2030 targets.
“Australia is the only major developed country that has failed to significantly strengthen its 2030 target,” Dr Taylor said.
“We know what is required to deeply permanently and immediately reduce emissions, and as the sunniest and one of the windiest places on earth, with a wealth of critical minerals available – Australia should be cashing in on those solutions and creating a prosperous, sustainable future.”
Climate Councillor, energy expert and former Origin Energy executive, Andrew Stock, said, “The Federal 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.”