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According to IPCC, we have the tools to stop climate change from becoming catastrophic. Here’s how you can use them
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According to IPCC, we have the tools to stop climate change from becoming catastrophic. Here’s how you can use them

letters on blocks reading climate change/chance


Humanity still has time to arrest catastrophic global warming – and has the tools to do so quickly and cheaply, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found.

The latest IPCC assessment report, the world’s definitive stocktake of action to minimise climate change, shows a viable path to halving global emissions by 2030.

This outlook is more favorable than in previous assessments. It is possible because of the dramatic reductions in the costs of clean energy technologies. However, it is necessary to take broad policy actions to reduce emissions.

Each contributed their expertise to the report. This article discusses the possible implications for Australia and outlines how the world can reduce emissions in the next decade.

letters on blocks reading climate change/chance
Humanity still has the ability to stop catastrophic global warming.

All-in, right now

  • Frank Jotzo, author principal on policies and institutions

The IPCC identifies clean electricity and agriculture/forestry/land use as the sectors where the greatest emissions reductions can be achieved, followed by industry and transport.

Other areas of production, buildings, and the urban sector offer low-emissions options, as do shifts in consumer demands. The cost of half the options to reduce emissions by half is less than US$20 per ton.

The IPCC does not provide country-level assessments. However, it is evident that Australia has all these potentialities.

The transition to zero emission electricity is well under way. Next is decarbonizing industry and transport. Australia can export clean, new technologies like green steel and hydrogen thanks to emerging technologies like hydrogen or green steel. The decline in fossil fuel use is expected to continue, with coal falling off especially quickly.

And Australia’s large land mass provides massive opportunities to remove CO₂ from the atmosphere through plants – and in future, perhaps also through chemical methods.

According to the IPCC comprehensive policy packages are necessary in order for deep emissions reductions to be achieved.

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It finds carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes have been effective, alongside targeted regulation and other instruments – such as support for research and development, uptake of advanced technologies and removing fossil fuel subsidies.

The report emphasizes the need to continue technological innovation and to increase finance for climate action.

It stresses the importance and sustainability of equity, sustainable development, and inclusive engagement throughout society to avoid unmanageable global climate change.

This requires climate action to be a central part of society and involve all kinds of groups. Independent institutions such as Australia’s Climate Change Authority have a strong role to play, and business should be actively involved.

So what’s the IPCC’s overriding message? The world’s governments must go all-in on addressing climate change. There are many opportunities and the tools are available.

industrial scene at sunset
To reduce emissions to a deep level, comprehensive policy is required.
J. David Ake/AP

Food to think about

  • Annette Cowie, Lead author on cross-sectoral perspective

To have our best shot at holding warming to 1.5℃, the world must hit net-zero emissions by mid-century.

Agriculture is a major contributor to global emissions. The IPCC confirms that the land plays a key role in net-zero by implementing measures. Remove CO₂ from the atmosphere and store it, such as tree planting, soil carbon management and the Use of biochar.

Farmers reap the benefits of improved soil fertility and carbon trading income.

How we produce and distribute food is a major factor. More than one-thirdGlobal emissions

According to the report, adopting a healthy and sustainable diet and reducing food waste is one of the greatest individual contributions we can make in reducing our carbon footprint. A diet rich in plant-based foods and moderate amounts of meat or dairy is a good choice.

We can also reduce direct emissions from food production. Manure can be transformed into biogas Feed additivesThere are promising ways to reduce your carbon footprint livestock methane.

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hand holding biochar

Biochar is a way to store carbon in soil and improve the soil.

Transport: Moving the dial

  • Peter Newman, coordinating lead writer on transport

  • Jake WhiteheadTransport author, authored by

There are many technological options available now to reduce emissions from energy, buildings and cities, transport, and, in large part, industry.

They include solar and wind-based power – now the Cheapestform of electricity. They also include Batteries and storage, electrified transport and “smart” technology that integrates these measures into zero-emissions solutions.

According to the IPCC report, solar unit costs have fallen by 85%, wind has fallen by 55%, and batteries by 85% in the last ten years. Never before has the world had such an open door to decarbonizing.

Transport has been the last to reduce emissions in recent decades. However, the IPCC has found that technologies are available to change this trend. Solar-powered electric vehicles are being developed for cars and trucks.

Continued advancements in battery- and charging technology could allow electrification for long-haul trucks. electrified highways.

The IPCC rated 60 actions that individuals can take to reduce their carbon emissions. The greatest contributions come from walking, cycling, using electrified transportation, reducing air travel and switching to plant-based nutrition.

This shows how important our individual choices are.

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Transport emissions can’t be reduced by technology alone. Cities must be more focused on public transport, walking, and cycling. This can be done in new and more efficient ways. Shuttles available on-demand, Trackless tramsHigh speed rail.

The government should offer incentives to encourage the use of electric scooters, bikes and cars, trucks, buses, and trucks, as well as providing incentives for their supply. This would allow individuals and businesses to reduce their carbon emissions.

The IPCC claims that cheap is not an option green hydrogenIt will be crucial to decarbonise aviation and shipping as well as parts of industry, agriculture, and shipping. To bring this solution to fruition, there will be much work in the next ten years.

While it is crucial to decarbonise transport, the transition also presents significant economic opportunity.

Australia could support transport carbonisation globally by mining critical minerals. Manufacturing, reuse RecyclingThe future of electric vehicles

people cycling and walking
Cities must move towards public transport, walking, or cycling.
Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/AAP

It’s time to act

There is huge potential to reduce global carbon emissions quickly.

The window of opportunity to reduce greenhouse gases emissions to safe levels has been closing at an alarming pace. As the IPCC has shown, fundamental changes to both production as well as demand are needed.

It is clear that business-as usual is no longer viable. The IPCC makes it clear that the time is right to take action.

This article was contributed by Arunima Malik and Glen Peters, Jacqueline Peel and Thomas Wiedmann. Part one of this article is available. Here.


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