A third report by IPCC experts to limit global warming and its devastating impacts

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In a sensitive context of war in Ukraine which exposes the dependence of economies on fossil fuels, the UN climate experts (IPCC) publish this Monday afternoon their range of scenarios to limit global warming and its already devastating impacts.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was more than clear on the opening day of talks of the 195 member states of the IPCC two weeks ago: dependence on oil, coal and gas is “madness”. “We are walking with our eyes closed towards climate catastrophe” and “if we continue like this, we can say goodbye to the 1.5°C objective. That of 2°C could also be out of reach”, he insisted, in reference to the objectives of the Paris agreement.

In August 2021, the IPCC pointed to the acceleration of global warming

After more than a century and a half of development based on fossil fuels, the planet has gained approximately +1.1°C on average compared to the pre-industrial era, already multiplying heat waves, droughts, storms or devastating floods. In the first part of its report published in August 2021, the IPCC pointed to the acceleration of global warming, predicting that the threshold of +1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial era could already be reached around 2030. .

The second, at the end of February, painted a grim picture of past, present and future impacts on people and ecosystems, pointing out that delaying action reduced the chances of a “livable future”. The third opus looks at the possible ways to slow down global warming, by breaking down the possibilities by major sectors (energy, transport, industry, agriculture, etc.) without forgetting the questions of social acceptability and the place of technologies such as the capture and carbon storage.

“How much further destruction must we witness, how many more scientific reports will be needed, before governments finally recognize that fossil fuels are the real culprits of human suffering across the planet,” Namrata said. Chowdhary, of the NGO 350.org. “Massive cuts in emissions are inevitable to avoid the worst,” she added.

This requires major transformations in all sectors of the economy, insist the experts. Transformations that must be initiated now to hope to respect the objectives of the Paris Agreement. “A new delay in global action is not an option,” insisted Giec boss Hoesung Lee at the opening of the session.

Touching on the very organization of our lifestyles

These questions affect the very organization of our lifestyles, consumption and production, on which the 195 Member States do not have the same vision. The sifting by the delegations by videoconference, line by line, word by word, of the “summary for decision-makers”, condensed from the thousands of pages of the scientific report, moreover overflowed by more than 48 hours, shifting the publication of a few hours at 3:00 p.m. GMT on Monday, instead of 9:00 a.m. GMT.

In a context made even more sensitive by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which makes some activists fear a dilution of the message. “The climate crisis is accelerating and fossil fuels are the major cause. A report on declining emissions that does not highlight this fact would negate the science on which the IPCC relies,” said Nikki Reisch of the Center for International Environmental Law.

While according to the UN, the current commitments of the States, if they were respected, would lead to a “catastrophic” warming of +2.7°C, the signatories of the Paris agreement are called upon to strengthen their ambitions to here the COP27 climate conference, in Egypt in November.

But after a COP26 that ended with “naive optimism”, for Antonio Guterres, the war in Ukraine could conversely derail climate action even more. “If world leaders, public and private, do not make progress in putting in place clear climate plans in the next two years, the plans (of carbon neutrality) for 2050 could be irrelevant”, warned the boss. of UN-Climate Patricia Espinosa.

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