The average annual global greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest levels in 2010-2019 but the encouraging factor is that the rate of growth has slowed.
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group III report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of climate change released in April 2022 said there is increasing evidence of climate action.
Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°Celsius is, however, beyond reach.
Since 2010, there have been sustained decreases of up to 85% in the costs of solar and wind energy, and batteries. An increasing range of policies and laws have enhanced energy efficiency, reduced rates of deforestation and accelerated the deployment of renewable energy.
IPCC chair Hoesung Lee said, “We are at crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming. There are policies, regulations and market instruments that are proving effective. If these are scaled up and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation.”
The world has options in all sectors to at least halve emissions by 2030. Limiting global warming will require major transitions in the energy sector. This will involve a substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency and use of alternative fuels (such as hydrogen).
IPCC working group III co-chair Priyadarshi Shukla said, “Having the right policies, infrastructure and technology in place to enable changes to our lifestyles and behaviour can result in a 40-70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This offers significant untapped potential. The evidence also shows that these lifestyle changes can improve our health and wellbeing too.”
Cities and other urban areas also offer significant opportunities for emissions reductions. These can be achieved through lower energy consumption (such as by creating compact, walkable cities), electrification of transport in combination with low-emission energy sources, and enhanced carbon uptake and storage using nature. There are options for established rapidly growing and new cities. A