IPCC climate report shows ‘economic system is incompatible with life on Earth’

Environmental activists said the latest UN climate report makes it clear that governments must say no to new fossil fuels and tackle an economic system that is accelerating us towards climate collapse.

The latest IPCC report examines ways to mitigate climate change and follows reports on physical science in August 2021 and on the impacts of climate change that were presented last month. These reports help shape the climate action of governments around the world.

The report presents various models of future mitigation scenarios or “pathways” to reduce emissions. These models are limited in that they are shaped by a variety of economic assumptions, including continued economic growth, and are therefore the subject of heated political debates about how to act.

Many of the models presented assume that we can allow global warming to increase beyond 1.5°C – known as overshoot – and then bring the temperature back using as yet unproven technologies to a some time in the future.

The last IPCC reporting cycle dates back 8 years, during which the remaining carbon budget to keep warming to the critical level of 1.5°C has decreased significantly.

Mary Church, Campaigns Manager for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“Today’s UN report is another stark warning that the likelihood of avoiding 1.5°C is rapidly diminishing. Deep emissions reductions are needed now, and the message at the heart of this latest study is that we must say no to all new oil and gas, end fossil fuel subsidies and urgently start ensuring a just transition for affected communities.

“Assuming to varying degrees the critical threshold of 1.5°C is exceeded, the pathways outlined in this report are simply untenable and show the political battles that are taking place around how to act on science.

“Only last month we saw the previous UN report warning that the impacts of climate breakdown are happening earlier and are more devastating than previously thought, and irreversible impacts from exceeding 1, 5° C. Yet the companies profiting from this catastrophe are pushing dangerous and speculative technological solutions, which would play with life on earth to extract every last drop of oil, and we see their influence in the paths set.

“What is crystal clear is that this crisis is fueled by the overconsumption of the wealthy, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. Despite the grim findings of today’s report, hope remains as science also shows that another world, with decent living standards for all, is possible with the remaining carbon budget. But only if we phase out fossil fuels quickly and if the wealthy countries responsible for driving the climate to the brink step in and start doing their fair share of action.

Hemantha Withanage, President of Friends of the Earth International, based in Sri Lanka, said:

“We cannot betray the promise of a 1.5°C warming threshold. If the IPCC WG3 report contains no mitigation path that prevents us from exceeding 1.5°C within the limits of the current economic paradigm, this is only proof that this economic system is incompatible with life on Earth. .

“The priority for our communities, our movements and our decision-makers must now be to end the age of fossil fuels and transform our societies and economies towards sustainable systems designed to meet the needs, security and well- to be people, not for profit and greed”.