Civil society groups on Monday, October 8, 2018 have welcomed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest scientific assessment on global warming, which calls for full decarbonisation latest by 2050. The details will serve as a key input for the Talanoa Dialogue at COP24 in Katowice, Poland in December 2018, as well as influence a political outcome committing to increased Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020.
“Science clearly shows our future is incompatible with fossil fuels. With this stark evidence at hand, governments have no excuse but to put climate action at the front and centre of their national agendas,” the activists said.
The unequivocal message from the report, based on more than 6,000 independent research papers, is that every half a degree of warming matters. Limiting warming to 1.50C is necessary possible and urgent, according to the Climate Action International (CAN), saying that it is the only option for a prosperous, just and safe future, especially for those most vulnerable at the frontlines of impacts.
The report, adds CAN, points to a radical shift to decarbonisation by 2050, but preferably earlier by 2040 given rising impacts even at one-degree Celsius warming.
“This assessment must spur the rapid switch to renewables across all sectors in the next decade driven by advances already underway in the real economy. The political will to heed the science and lead this transformational change towards 100% renewables will determine which side of history today’s leaders will stand on.”
Reactions from CAN members and partners
Caroline Kende-Robb, Secretary General, CARE International: “The IPCC report makes it clear: the world must come together now to take serious action to stop global warming. Developing countries are already disproportionately affected by climate change – it deprives the most vulnerable groups, particularly women and girls, from basic universal rights. CARE calls on governments, in particular, from developed countries and emerging economies, to accelerate climate action to reduce emissions now, not in 10 years. Ignoring the necessities for action that the IPCC report spells out is unacceptable.”
Moussa Elimane Sall, Executive Director of Plateforme Mauritanienne du Climat, and Board Member & Regional Coordinator of CAN-ARAB-World: “I fully understand the impressive needs for our countries and leaders to work towards a flourishing future, but to make sure that this future is as flourishing as we expect, we need to bear in mind that the earth has limited resources. Brothers in humanity, the Earth no longer has the time to see us negotiating indefinitely, it’s time to be attentive to its complaints and act accordingly. This Special IPCC report, entitled ‘Global Warming of 1.5ºC’ will provide important information about the current status of climate change, as well as what the future might hold if our governments, businesses, and communities do not start implementing real climate solutions. It’s definitely a reminder or even a distress signal for humankind survival.”
Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada: “No more excuses, no more delay. That is the message this report has for the world. If we want to continue living on a planet that resembles the paradise we inhabit now, we must act immediately and without relent. Importantly, this report also tells us that we have the time and we have the means. 1.5°C is possible. So, what’s holding us back from taking the action demanded of us? Short-sighted politics and the reckless self-interest of polluting industries. The science is clear, and it has handed us a way forward: all of us must do all we can, all at the same time.”
Raijeli Nicole, Regional Director for Oxfam in the Pacific: “Climate change has set our planet on fire, millions are already feeling the impacts, and the IPCC just showed that things can get much worse. The faster governments embrace the renewable energy revolution and move to protect communities at risk, the more lives and livelihoods will be spared.
“Every tenth of a degree of warming is a choice between life or death. We’re already witnessing the beginnings of massive displacement and a shocking rise in hunger, with women living in poverty suffering the most. It only gets worse from here.”
Peter Frumhoff, Director of science and policy, Union of Concerned Scientists and a Former Lead Author, IPCC: “Many extreme weather events in the U.S. and across the globe have been intensifying after just a one-degree Celsius increase in the global average temperature. As the latest IPCC report shows us, at 1.5 degrees of warming further climate impacts will be devastating and at 2 degrees they would be calamitous. Every fraction of a degree of warming we can avoid matters.”
Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe: “Science has given us a message of both urgency and hope. It has made it crystal clear that warming of more than 1.5°C would result in ever wilder extreme weather events. These in turn would expose us to greater drought, food shortages and economic devastation. The silver lining to the report is that we still have a chance to stay below 1.5°C, that solutions are within our reach and that it will help us build a safer, more prosperous Europe.
“The IPCC scientists are sending this message ahead of the all-important COP24 summit in Katowice this year, where governments are expected to commit to step up their climate targets. All eyes are on EU environment ministers now, who need to act on the IPCC warnings and commit to significantly increase the EU’s targets in line with a 1.5°C pathway. Staying below 1.5°C means Europe needs to drastically reduce emissions to reach net-zero by 2040 and this needs to be reflected in the new long-term climate strategy.”
Fiona Armstrong, Founder and Executive Director, Climate and Health Alliance – Australia (CAHA): “This IPCC report makes clear the world’s current trajectory of global warming due to continuously rising greenhouse gas emissions is putting us on track for a rise of 3-4 degrees or more.
“Australia’s health professionals are declaring this report a public health warning. With just one degree of global warming we are already seeing devastating impacts. People are dying in extreme heatwaves, food production is threatened, massive ecosystems are breaking down. Continuing our current pathway will bring further catastrophic impacts for human populations, and dramatic losses of other species.
“Collectively, we need to more than double the efforts being made globally to avoid a ‘hothouse Earth’ that will be incompatible with human civilisation. The stakes could not be higher.
“Limiting global warming is hard, but achievable. The sobering reality however is that even 1.5 degrees is too hot. Every fraction of a degree matter. We must cut emissions to zero and draw down carbon from the atmosphere. This report emphasises this needs to happen now – not in 10, 20 or 30 years – but right now.”
Nouhad Awwad, National Coordinator, Arab Youth Climate Movement-Lebanon and Board Member, Mediterranean Youth Climate Network: “The Special IPCC report, entitled “Global Warming of 1.5ºC” alert us on the importance of keeping the temperature rise below 1.5ºC. The adverse effects of climate change that range from the Arctic ice melt to the natural habitat destruction and the increase of disease burden won’t be confined to a certain country or region; it affects the world as a whole. Natural disasters and health problems severity increase with the temp increase.
“Therefore, the difference between warming of 1.5ºC and 2ºC has devastating effects on coral reefs, water availability, sea level rise and the intensity of extreme weather conditions. World leaders should collaborate with civil society, businesses and scientists to increase intentional cohesiveness, lowering their emission, raising their ambitions, increasing their climate target and reviewing their NDCs.”
Hala Murad, President, Dibeen for Environmental Development, Jordan, Member of Arab CAN-Network: The day may come when the great title is “Save people from extinction” because the whole vital system is going to the abyss, if governments and local authorities all over the world do not do everything, they can for the planet that is our home.
“To this day, in our country, we see great words and plans on paper, but we are not actually doing the role that is imposed on us so that we do not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is also dangerous, specifically government and supporting agencies they must work with the most vulnerable communities in rural and remote areas, with the poor, women, refugees and others, and should listen to more realistic programs drawn from the harmony between these communities and groups with their environment and climate.
“Talanoa dialogue is an important tool and event to observe and measure the abilities, the capacities and the main challenges that face those people to work with them closely in the future. This is an important for the biosphere to maintain its different characteristics and recover.”
Carol Gribnau, Program Director Green department, Hivos: “0.5 degree seems small but will have a tremendous impact, especially on the lives of vulnerable people in low- and middle-income countries. These countries are already being hit by the consequences of climate change and lack the means to adapt. Whether people there live on an island or in (semi-)arid areas, climate change has already affected their lives severely.
“The report shows it is still doable, but the time to act decisively and together is now. And it will take a joint effort from governments, businesses, financial institutions and citizens to make the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon, and inclusive economy. Therefore we call for an unprecedented shift in these systems by speeding up our adoption of renewable energy solutions and promoting food systems built on diversity, soil health and zero-waste.
“Even if we manage to halt climate change at the 1.5°C threshold, change is already happening. That’s why we need to support local communities to adapt to climate change and to become more resilient. Governments must live up to their commitment to balance climate finance and deliver adaptation support to developing countries. Now is the time to be better safe than sorry!”
Hamzeh Bany Yasin, Climate and Energy Policy Program Manager, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung: The IPCC has warned in all its reports that climate change will lead to adverse impacts on natural and human systems. IPCC Special Report “Global Warming of 1.5°C” gives strong insights why the 1.5°C aspirational target of the Paris Agreement should be taken very seriously; as climate threshold concludes that the risks for human well-being and livelihoods, ecosystem, food and water security, which are already serious today, will be critically higher at 1.5°C, and projected for further increase with every level of additional emission.
“For the Arab Countries, despite the variation in climate action, but none of them adequately prepares for 1.5°C-consistent pathways and its associated risks. The key message for now is the urgent need of scaling-up NDC. Yes, there are institutional and procedural challenges, but there is also a hope a close this gap. In our region, climate change agenda hasn’t yet become the priority to bring the country on track of a 1.5°C-consistent pathway, including managing the climate risks. The majority of policy-makers still doesn’t see climate change as a threat, and most of them are not well aware of its consequences. The concept of sectoral interdependence should be mainstreamed when designing policies for mutually interdependent sectors.”
Jagoda Munić, Director of Friends of the Earth Europe: “The fossil fuel age has to end: that’s the message of today’s report. To have any chance of avoiding the chaos, droughts and rising tides of 1.5 degrees or more of global warming, we must massively and speedily transform our society to kick our fossil fuel addiction.
“The EU must do its fair share, beginning with completely stopping funding for fossil fuels and switching to 100% renewables by 2030. Currently Europe is far off track.
“A safer, fairer and cleaner fossil-free Europe is possible, and communities are showing us the way – from resisting dirty energy projects everywhere, to installing community owned renewable energy schemes.
“This is a climate emergency – for many around the world preventing climate catastrophe and temperature rises exceeding 1.5 degrees is a matter of life and death. Only radical system change offers a pathway towards hope and out of despair. We want a just transition to a clean energy system that benefits people, not corporations.”
Manfred Treber, Climate and Transport Adviser, Germanwatch: “Based on the results of excellent scientific work in the last years the IPCC shows in its Special Report on 1.5°C that and how the ambitious 1.5°C-goal of the Paris Agreement can be achieved.
“To arrive at the necessary net zero emissions before 2050, the IPCC scenarios show that strong emission reductions until 2030 are needed. This means that NDCs have to be strengthened and that industrialised countries like Germany must decide soon to phase out coal until 2030.”
Yunus Arikan, Head of Global Policy and Advocacy at ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability: “We are living in an urban era, and the 1.5-degree target can only be reached if local and regional leaders work with citizens to adopt sustainable lifestyles and build robust frameworks to ensure city efforts are supported and coordinated across all levels of government.
“The release of the IPCC report coincides with the adoption of the Global Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science and a year in which all levels of government and climate stakeholders are coming together through Talanoa Dialogues to shape climate policy. This moves us in the right direction. With this, urban climate science will play an increasingly important role in shaping climate action, integrating sustainable urban and territorial development into climate policy and supporting a global transformation to achieve the 1.5-degree target.”
Farhana Yamin, CEO, Track 0: “While nations offered plans in Paris to reduce their emissions, current pledges are nowhere near enough to meet the Paris Agreement’s principal goal. Even if nations live up to their commitments, the planet will still be on a path to warm about 3 degrees Celsius. This is unacceptable. If this report doesn’t convince each nation that their prosperity and security require making transformational scientific, technological, political, social and economic changes to reach this monumental goal of staving off some of the worst climate change impacts, then I don’t know what will.
“Nations must now respond to the report by signalling their intention to increase their national emission reduction pledges under the Paris Agreement. At the annual UN climate talks in Poland this December, countries should commit to strengthen policies that cut global warming emissions, invest in measures to limit future climate risks, and do more to help communities cope with the climate impacts that are now unavoidable. In addition, wealthier nations that bear greater responsibility for the global warming problem need to ramp up financial and technology support for actions by developing nations, to help create a better world for all of us.
“The IPCC Report underlines the need for all governments to step up the climate ambition of existing targets, so they align with the Paris Agreement and support the achievement of the SDGs. Every country must put a date on phasing out fossil fuel emissions and subsidies so that we can achieve net zero emissions not later than 2050.”
Anne Stauffer, Director for Strategy and Campaigns at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL): “Climate action is all about opportunities for health: decarbonising our lives is entirely possible and will make this world a healthier, more prosperous and sustainable place. Ensuring a limit of 1.5 degree Celsius instead of 2 would mean less health-threatening extreme weather events, chronically ill people, less hospital admissions, less deaths and less financial burden on our societies.”
Kat Kramer, Christian Aid’s Global Lead, Climate Change: “The IPCC report clearly demonstrates that we can still limit temperature increases to 1.5°C and thereby avoid entering a climate era unprecedented in human experience. To do so, we must act with urgency to bring about deep emissions cuts. Governments at this December’s UN climate negotiations must sign up to increasing their climate ambition by 2020: to not do so would be a dereliction of duty towards all humanity, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, and to all life on earth. Not every pathway to achieve the goal is sustainable, however: governments must also choose to avoid false solutions, like geoengineering, to the climate threat and instead promote approaches that safeguard and promote a better quality of life for all.”
Mattias Söderberg, Senior Advocacy Advisor, DanChurchAid (Denmark): “The report highlights the urgent need for support to poor and vulnerable countries. The EU and its member states must live up to the promises about climate finance, and especially scale up the support to adaptation, which until now has not been prioritised. There is no time to waste!”
Giulia Bondi, Climate Justice and Energy Officer, CIDSE: “Limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires a radical change that we must undertake soon. We must completely shift to renewable energies following the principles of equity and sufficiency. The food sector needs to move towards agroecology and guarantee the right to food for all. The whole economy should embrace a post-growth model and Europe should lead the way in this, if wanting to prove climate leadership in meeting its international commitments.”
Sofia Kabbej, Advocacy Director, CliMates (youth network): “The new IPCC report reaffirms the need to step-up climate action if we are to cap the global temperature rise under 1.5°C. The consequences of a 1.5°C warming would still be significant and will impact millions of lives. The successful fulfilment of this commitment relies on us, as a collective, to take the appropriate decisions and translate those into action as soon as we can. Let’s also not forget that effective climate action brings about positive spill-overs to efforts aiming to reduce inequalities worldwide. Youth will be bearing most of the consequences of inaction. Now is the time to act!”
Stephen Cornelius, WWF Chief Adviser on climate change: “Every half-a-degree matter to people and nature – this is the reality of our warming world. The report is a call to action to accelerate the low-carbon transition needed across all sectors such as energy, transport, and food. Without rapid and deep cuts to global carbon emissions we face more severe impacts to ecosystems, from coral reefs to Arctic sea ice, putting more vulnerable communities and wildlife at risk. We expected tough negotiations on this landmark report and we are happy that governments have delivered a good reflection of the underlying science. Current country pledges to cut emissions are insufficient to limit global warming to 1.5°C and you can’t negotiate with science.”
Kelly Stone, Senior Policy Analyst, ActionAid USA: “The Special Report clearly shows the urgency of the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C. We’re already seeing serious impacts at 1°C. The science is clear that 1.5°C degrees will mean more droughts, floods and other extreme weather, and that the impacts will be even more catastrophic at 2°C degrees.
“The good news is that 1.5°C is still achievable, but only if we acknowledge that business as usual is no longer acceptable.
“Next week ActionAid, along with colleagues in the CLARA network, will release a report showing the huge potential for the right kind of action in the land sector to help meet the 1.5°C goal. Transforming to sustainable production methods, changing diets, protecting forests and safeguarding the rights of indigenous peoples would make a much greater contribution to the 1.5°C goal than has previously been recognised. Addressing harmful consumption patterns must be a key part of the picture.
“The barriers to staying under 1.5°C are not technical, but political. Governments of polluting countries must take home the message that they need to re-order their priorities and take much more action if they are going to keep their citizens and planet safe.
“Relying on large-scale negative emission technologies would be a dangerous gamble we must not take. While some negative emissions are needed, betting on unproven and harmful technologies to remove huge amounts of emissions from the atmosphere in the future. If these technologies do not work at the hoped-for scale, it will be too late to undo the damage. The world will have locked in additional warming and related impacts.
“We strongly oppose the use of Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage, or BECCS. This technology is both unproven to work at scale and relies on the myth that bioenergy is carbon neutral, meaning it won’t offer any real climate benefit.
A climate pathway that puts land needed for food and forests over to BECCS would mean betting on unproven and harmful technologies to remove emissions from the atmosphere in the future, sacrificing the very people the 1.5°C goal was supposed to protect. That BECCS remains one of the main negative emissions technologies considered in climate pathways is unacceptable.
“We’ll have a far better chance of making the 1.5°C goal if we take action to avoid emissions now by pursuing solutions that we already know can work, such as transforming our food systems and diets, and halting deforestation.”
Will McGoldrick, Global Climate Strategy Director, The Nature Conservancy: “The IPCC report is a sobering reminder that we’re still not on track to achieve the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. If we’re serious about keeping global warming well below 2 degrees and striving for no more than 1.5 degrees, we cannot afford further delay.
“In addition to making deep cuts to global emissions, we need to increase efforts to remove carbon from the atmosphere. The best way to do that is to protect, restore and sustainably manage our forests, grasslands and wetlands.”
Nathaniel Keohane, Senior Vice President for Climate at Environmental Defense Fund: “This new report makes it clearer than ever that we’re in the race of our lives. Our fate – and the fate of our children – is in our hands. We can make decisions that protect our communities, our children, and future generations, or we can pass on a world far different and more damaged than the one we inherited.
“It’s time to cut climate pollution, make clean energy abundant and accessible to all, and protect the world’s tropical forests that store enormous amounts of carbon. As the report makes clear, the stakes could not be higher. Even as President Trump seeks to take the U.S. backward, the rest of America – and the rest of the world – is moving ahead. The clear benefits of limiting global warming laid out in this report should inspire us to double down on our fight to provide a safe planet for our children and future generations.”