IPCC’s damning verdict: responses from across the board
Following yesterday's bombshell IPCC report, NZI checked in with a number of net zero insiders to discuss the main findings
Yesterday, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its long-awaited climate report.
Its conclusion in one word: disastrous.
The IPCC warned the international community it is 'now or never' as it is extremely likely the most ambitious climate targets will be missed.
Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial temperatures is no longer realistic, the IPCC warned, at least not within the next decade, as previously agreed.
Discussing the report with Net Zero Investor this morning, London-based Emma Cox, global climate leader at professional services giant PwC, said "the findings could not have hit any harder."
She stressed that "the clear message is that the world’s actions on climate change have so far been insufficient in spite of knowing what we have to do and what is at stake."
Cox added: "The capital and liquidity to close global investment gaps exist today but barriers must be removed to make it easier for this capital to be redirected towards climate action while global governments must back up public investment with positive policies that attract investors and encourage international cooperation."
Despite the lack of urgency to date, Cox pointed out there are signs that the political will exists and, combining this with investor enthusiasm, she said that "we can accelerate action on adaptation and mitigation measures while protecting the most vulnerable people and our natural environment."
She stressed this will include funding action on increasing energy efficiency while scaling up renewable sources of energy and phasing out fossil fuels, along with increased action on restoring and protecting the ecosystems that act as critical carbon sinks and help the world adapt to the impacts the globe is experiencing.
The UN scientists and researchers expect climate disasters and catastrophes to become so extreme that humanity will not be able to adapt.
"Basic components of the Earth system will be fundamentally, irrevocably altered. Heat waves, famines and infectious diseases could claim millions of additional lives by century’s end," according to the report.
In response, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres has demanded that developed countries - such as the EU and United States - eliminate carbon emissions by 2040, a decade earlier than the rest of the world.
A note of optimism
In addition to Cox, Thomas Hohne-Sparborth, head of sustainability research at Lombard Odier Investment Managers, shared with Net Zero Investor that the IPCC have reiterated a stark "final warning" on climate change.
"Already at 1.1C warming, we see catastrophic weather events becoming more frequent and damage to human and planetary wellbeing mounting," he said.
"Without a sharp reversal in current trends, our planet may cross the critical threshold of 1.5C warming within a decade."
However, Hohne-Sparborth does find "a note of optimism" in the report.
He explained: "We have the technologies we need to transform our economies and avoid the worst effects of climate change. Solar and wind energy, electric vehicles, heat pumps, precision agriculture, alternative proteins, to name just a few solutions, are now reaching tipping points."
"These promise to fundamentally reshape our economy, tackling biodiversity loss and air pollution as well as carbon emissions."
Others were less positive, however.
The COP28 Presidency released a statement, saying the report "underscored what we already know: the world is not on track to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement."
COP28, which will be hosted by the UAE, may be crucial in this decade of action. The COP28 Presidency will lead the world’s response to the Global Stocktake, the first-ever report card on the Paris Agreement and aim to reignite momentum for climate progress.
"Guided by the solutions laid out by the IPCC, this must be our moment to course correct and to usher in a complete and urgent response that accelerates all our efforts," the COP28 Presidency said.
"We must unlock trillions of dollars if we are to enable this immense transformation. This must include a response by the international financial institutions and multilateral development banks."
The COP28's president concluded: "They have to reform to enable a just energy transition and meet the needs of the most vulnerable, particularly across the global south."
COP28's sentiment was shared by Rajeev Suri, CEO of London-based satellite and communications giant Inmarsat.
"We are past the point of allowing further bad news on climate change to paralyse us into inaction. It is now non-negotiable that governments and industry leaders assess their decarbonisation strategies," Suri told Net Zero Investor.
He stressed that the space industry can make a huge contribution, by using satellite technologies to assist other industries.
“Satellite technologies are already saving 2.5% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. However, full adoption of existing and developing solutions could cut 18% of total GHG emissions."
Suri claimed: "This would make it possible to reach net zero by as early as 2040 – a full ten years ahead of schedule."
However, he did acknowledge: "I know these are bold claims, but the modelling shows that the barriers are not technological. We have the required technology available today."
'A no-holds barred message'
Finally, Fiona Duggan, policy lead at climate solutions charity Ashden, said this morning the report made it "crystal clear that we need to be fighting climate breakdown on all fronts, in all countries, at rapid speed – it was a no-holds barred message of warning and hope."
She stressed: "Importantly the report gave huge emphasis to the co-benefits of rapid decarbonisation throughout – that reducing climate emissions will have huge co-benefits on health, economies, communities and the natural environment."
Duggan singled out that the IPCC writers pointed out lowering demand through energy efficiency in building could reduce emissions by 66% by 2030.
"In the UK that means launching a retrofit revolution that dramatically cuts the UK's emissions as is being done by award-winning organisations such as B4Box, Carbon Coop, and the Low Carbon Academy’s retrofit green skills hub and energy efficiency and retrofit projects spearheaded by many local authorities," she concluded.
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