A piece of artwork depicting a warming planet by the artist Alisa Singer
Changing by the artist Alisa Singer

IPCC report is Code Red

The latest IPCC report is “code red” for humanity. This generation of political and business leaders is among the last to be able to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. We have a choice between mobilizing now to transform our economy in ways that will create trillions in economic opportunity, millions of jobs, and ensure a liveable future for our children, or the status quo leading us to over $77T in economic damages and hundreds of millions of climate refugees by 2050. “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels before they destroy our planet.”

Climate Ventures remains as committed as ever to supporting and scaling climate solutions, and working in collaboration with others to give rise to the Next Economy – one that is green, regenerative, equitable and prosperous for all.

More on the IPCC report via Bloomberg Green:

An epochal new report from the world’s top climate scientists warns that the planet will warm by 1.5° Celsius in the next two decades without drastic moves to eliminate greenhouse gas pollution.

“It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land,” wrote the authors of the IPCC’s sixth global science assessment since 1990 and the first released in more than eight years. The crucial warming threshold of 2°C will be “exceeded during the 21st century,” the IPCC authors concluded, without deep emissions cuts “in the coming decades.”

Among the headline findings: The past decade was most likely hotter than any period in the last 125,000 years, when sea levels were as much as 10 meters higher. Combustion and deforestation have also raised carbon dioxide in the atmosphere higher than they’ve been in two million years, according to the report, and agriculture and fossil fuels have contributed to methane and nitrous oxide concentration higher than any point in at least 800,000 years.

The document is “a code red for humanity,” said Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, in prepared remarks tied to the release. “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels before they destroy our planet.”

The IPCC found that the combined effects of human activity have already increased the global average temperature by about 1.1°C above the late 19th-century average. The contribution to global warming of natural factors, such as the sun and volcanoes, is estimated to be close to zero. In fact, humans have dumped enough greenhouse gas into the atmosphere to heat the planet by 1.5°C, according to the report, but fine-particle pollution from fossil fuels provides a cooling effect that masks some of the impact.

Humanity will have about a 50% chance of staying below the 1.5°C threshold called for by the Paris Agreement if CO₂ emissions from 2020 onwards remain below 500 billion tons. At the current rate of emissions, that carbon budget would be used up in about 13 years. If the rate doesn’t come down, the planet will warm more than 1.5°C.