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04 Apr 2022, 13:50
Benjamin Wehrmann

Inaction on climate exacerbates energy dependence on Russia – IPCC author

Die Zeit

Slow climate action has increasingly risked missing the world’s climate targets and also keeps Europe and Germany dependent on energy imports from Russia, UN climate panel IPCC author Niklas Höhne writes in an op-ed for Die Zeit ahead of the release of the panel’s sixth report on mitigating climate change effects (due on 4 April 17:00 CET). “It is sobering to compare the situation today with that of 15 years ago. We already knew a lot back then but did much too little about it,” he writes. “All we have left now is an emergency brake.” It is too late for “bridge technologies“ like natural gas, as global emissions would have to be halved within ten years and reduced to net zero by the middle of the century to keep the global warming limit of two degrees Celsius within reach. “The good news is that we know at least in principle how a transition could work,” Höhne writes, arguing that rapid price drops for renewable power have paved the way for a determined global rollout. A more forceful renewables expansion could already have reduced energy dependence on Russia, but in the light of the war in Ukraine, an energy saving “emergency plan” has become imperative as much as cushioning the social and economic effects of rising energy prices. Steps to keep climate action on track even amid the war must also include a comprehensive carbon taxing reform and a better integration of emerging and developing economies in building a non-fossil energy system.

In itspaper on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, the IPCC in early March said the world is already facing "unequivocal" consequences of climate change and damages will increase rapidly with rising temperatures. The climate science body called for "concerted anticipatory global action" to avoid missing "a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all."

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