· Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

IPCC report on 1.5°C: Unprecedented transformation needed to reach climate targets

Limiting global warming to 1.5° Celsius would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, says a new detailed assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries were involved in preparing the report, among them Elmar Kriegler from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) who is one of the lead authors for the key chapter on mitigation pathways. The Special Report on Global warming of 1.5°C will be an important scientific input into the UN climate summit in Poland in December and was prepared in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change when the historic Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015.

„The greenhouse gas emissions reductions that governments worldwide so far plan until 2030 are clearly not sufficient to keep global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius – they need to be strengthened, our report shows”, says Elmar Kriegler. “The 1.5 degrees limit requires a CO2 neutral society already by 2050. This is a big challenge that would demand unprecedented transformation – a transformation that is the same as for the 2 degree limit, yet more rapidly. For either of these temperature limits, rapid action is key. It is really the next few years that count, since it is now that governments decide about their emissions reductions until 2030 which in turn will determine if we fail or succeed to limit the worst of climate risks.”

Less than a decade to curb CO2 emissions from coal and oil

Johan Rockström, Director Designate of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research commented"The report clearly shows how business-as-usual scenarios would put people's livelihoods at risks - and in contrast to what some observers understandably but irrealistically hope for, we do not have more time to achieve climate stabilization. To assure people's safety, we have less than a decade to curb CO2emissions from coal and oil. If we succeed to keep warming as 1,5 degrees, we substantially increase our chances of limiting dangerous sea-level rise, and limit devastating extreme weather events. The future is in our hands.”

Investment cycles are key - CO2 pricing part of the solution

“Investment cycles are key in this respect: if we do not act rapidly, new coal power plants and other infrastructure will be built, and this would lock us onto a high-emissions future that will be fatal, " commented Ottmar Edenhofer, Director Designate and currently acting Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. "Effective CO2 pricing is a major part of the solutions package – it would send a clear signal to investors what to expect from the future. In fact it does three good things: making the use of fossil fuels less profitable, making clean energy more attractive, and generating income for states that they can spend for infrastructure build-up beneficial for all, or that they can give back to their citizens for instance by way of tax-cuts. A just and fair transition is possible, yet only if we act rapidly. Delaying action would drive up costs, and risks."

Weblink to the report: "Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above preindustrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways,in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty": http://ipcc.ch/report/sr15/

Weblink to the IPCC press release: 

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