20 Mar 2023, 17:27
Julian Wettengel

Must start looking seriously at global warming beyond 1.5°C – IPCC report author

Clean Energy Wire

The world is on track to surpassing the crucial target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and should prepare accordingly, said Oliver Geden, senior fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), on the publication of the so-called “Synthesis Report” by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “We need to start looking seriously at the world beyond 1.5 degrees temperature rise, because that is where we are heading,” he said. The synthesis report showed this “quite clearly”, and “we should not allow ourselves to be paralysed by it,” said Geden who is also part of the core author team for the report. The IPCC said that urgent and more ambitious action can still secure a liveable and sustainable future for people across the world. However, the report shows that rapid, deep and in most cases immediate greenhouse gas reductions are necessary to limit warming to 1.5°C or even 2°C. Geden emphasised that even if or when the world goes beyond the 1.5°C limit, “every tenth of a degree will be important”. The world had to get to net-zero emissions to stop the temperature rise, and had to “achieve drastic reductions” already by 2030.

The IPCC is the United Nations' body for assessing the science related to climate change. Its synthesis report does not present new findings, but rather integrates the information from several key climate science publications it released on the physical science basis in 2021 and on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability as well as mitigation in 2022, in addition to several special reports from recent years. The report says that human activities, principally through emissions of greenhouse gases, have unequivocally caused global warming, with global surface temperature reaching 1.1°C above 1850–1900 in the period 2011–2020. This has led to widespread adverse impacts and related losses and damages to nature and people, said the report. The IPCC publishes its comprehensive scientific assessments in regular intervals of six to seven years.

Mankind has the necessary knowledge, the appropriate technologies and also the financial resources to keep the target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C within reach, said German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock in reaction to the latest report by leading climate scientists. She said that “we only have this one world and the report by the IPCC makes it brutally clear that we are sawing at the branch we are sitting on as a global community.” Environment minister Steffi Lemke said that the report “bears impressive witness how urgently climate action is needed.” As adaptation to climate change had its limits, the world had to “quickly reduce emissions at a large scale.”

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