“Critical moment in history,” says UN climate report

Briefly: The world will soon burn through its “carbon budget” and may surpass the key threshold of 1.5C of warming by 2030, according to a new report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Scientists say the severity of climate events – droughts, floods, deadly storms – increases dangerously after 1.5C of warming.

And the world could warm by 3.2C this century unless nations lift their game. That level of warming would leave much of the planet inhospitable to plant, animal, and human life.

Intrigue’s take: Mercifully, the report does offer some hope. It says we already have the knowhow and capital to get the job done. It’s just a matter of… getting the job done.

The IPCC notes several mitigation options (like solar, wind, electrification etc) are “becoming increasingly cost effective and are generally supported by the public.” Plus, plenty of countries have shown it’s possible to cut emissions without hurting growth.

In other words, the IPCC’s message seems to be: we can do this. But now, more than ever, we must do it.

Also worth noting:

  • Not mincing his words, UN Chief António Guterres described the report as a “survival guide for humanity” and “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership”.
  • The world’s two largest carbon emitters – the US and China – each continue to approve carbon-intensive energy projects. Likewise for many of the highest per capita emitters.
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