Environmental activists have argued that the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes clear that governments must ‘say no’ to new fossil fuels and drive economic change to avoid climate breakdown. .
The latest IPCC report, released April 4, examines ways to mitigate climate change and follows reports on the physical science and impacts of climate change.
The report presents various models of future mitigation scenarios or emission reduction “pathways”.
Some of these models assume that we can allow global warming to increase beyond 1.5°C – known as overshoot – and then bring the temperature down using emerging technologies in the future, but campaigners say it makes the lanes “untenable”.
Mary Church, Campaigns Manager for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Today’s UN report is another stark warning that the likelihood of avoiding 1.5C is rapidly diminishing.” Deep emissions reductions are needed now, and the message at the heart of this latest study is that we must say no to all new oil and gas, end fossil fuel subsidies and urgently start ensuring a just transition for affected communities.
“Assuming to varying degrees the critical threshold of 1.5°C is exceeded, the pathways outlined in this report are simply untenable and show the political battles that are taking place around how to act on science.
“Only last month we saw the previous UN report warning that the impacts of climate breakdown are happening earlier and are more devastating than previously thought, and irreversible impacts from exceeding 1, 5°C. Yet the companies profiting from this catastrophe are offering dangerous and speculative technological solutions, which would play with life on earth in order to extract every last drop of oil, and we see their influence in the paths drawn.
“What is clear is that this crisis is being driven by overconsumption by the wealthy, particularly in the global north. Despite the grim findings of today’s report, hope remains as science also shows that ‘another world, with decent living standards for all, is possible with the remaining carbon budget. But only if we quickly phase out fossil fuels and if the rich countries responsible for driving the climate to the brink step in and start to do their fair share of action.
Hemantha Withanage, president of Friends of the Earth International, based in Sri Lanka, said: “We cannot betray the promise of a 1.5°C warming threshold. If the IPCC WG3 report does not contain any mitigation path that prevents us from exceeding 1.5°C within the limits of the current economic paradigm, this is only proof that this economic system is incompatible with life on Earth.
“The priority for our communities, our movements and our decision-makers must now be to end the age of fossil fuels and transform our societies and economies towards sustainable systems designed to meet the needs, security and well- to be people, not for profit and greed.”
Photo by Matt Palmer