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Final IPCC report warns ‘now or never’ to prevent climate disaster

Climate scientists have provided something of a final warning in the latest IPCC report. Efforts to make emissions peak by 2025 must materialise ‘now or never’ to avoid devastating climate impacts.

Good afternoon… humanity is running out of time.

The third and final section of the IPCC’s comprehensive review of climate science is here, complete with stark warnings that nihilism will soon have devastating impacts.

As you’ll already know from the previous two segments, this report is the most comprehensive climate document on record – complete with analysis from literally thousands of researchers compiled over more than seven years.

You know what that means, this could very well be the last IPCC report we get before the world cements its path to an irrevocable climate breakdown. Oh good.

Unsurprisingly, the authors are calling for a ‘now or never’ approach to bringing emissions down. Failure to make these gases peak by as soon as 2025 will likely kill any prospects of limiting future heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

In fact, if warnings of catastrophic and irreversible changes continue to go unheeded by governments, we’re in all likelihood looking at exceeding 3C of warming. Say goodbye to a quarter of the Earth’s species, and hello deadly heat waves, wildfires, and floods.

To avoid the worse case scenario, the report has again reiterated the necessary steps governments must make this year, with any urgency from the last report haven fallen by the wayside as Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Since then, soaring energy prices have prompted governments including the US, UK, and EU to consider ramping up fossil fuel productions. If this is to materialise, obviously, our global targets of under 1.5C will go completely beyond reach.

The report’s 63 page summary outlines how coal must be effectively phased out, while methane emissions are cut by a third. As things stand here and now, investment in the shift to a low-carbon world is around six times lower than it needs to be.

Also pointing to reforestation and soil preservation as key factors to consider, the report states that planting trees (and offsets, in particular) alone will not be enough to counteract the damage of fossil fuels.

All sectors of the global economy; from energy, transport, construction, and food must make wholesale changes to their business models, and new technologies that actually capture and sequester carbon need commissioning and putting to work.

If these collective efforts are made, the actual cost of halving emissions may amount to just a few percent of global GDP by the mid-century. ‘It’s now or never,’ says Jim Skea of the Imperial College London. ‘Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.’

It doesn’t inspire much confidence to hear that the likes of India, Saudi Arabia, and China reportedly questioned targets around financing emission cuts in the developing world – which caused the publishing of the report to be delayed by a few hours yesterday – but the IPCC concluded that the final summary was agreed by all 195 governments.

So there you have it, this is the decisive climate report. No longer can governments take an apathetic approach without genuinely huge consequences. Its time to find out who’s really about change, and not just idle chat.