Permafrost is thawing, glaciers and eternal ice are melting and average temperatures are rising worldwide. Climate change is well under way. However, it remains to be seen to what extent the climate will change and whether we can mitigate the worst impacts. In the Paris Climate Agreement, the international community set itself the objective of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees, and to 1.5 degrees if possible. A prerequisite for this is a drastic reduction in the emissions of greenhouse gases harmful to the climate. The current report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finds that the reduction plans of the individual countries to date are not sufficient to meet this target. Greenhouse emissions are continuing to rise – albeit at a slower rate than ten years ago.
This is due, among other things, to the increased use of resources owing to higher levels of prosperity and consumption worldwide, as well as to global population growth. There is also good news, however. The technological scope for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is growing. Meanwhile, the costs for key technologies, including for the global energy transition, are going down. For example, from 2010-2019, the cost of solar energy fell by 85 percent, wind energy by 55 percent and lithium-ion batteries by 85 percent, while their use increased.
Jennifer Morgan, State Secretary and Special Envoy for International Climate Action, issued the following statement on the occasion of the release of the IPCC report on 4 April:
Today’s report shows with frightening clarity once again that the world is on fire and the international community is not yet doing enough to put out this fire. All countries must now do more to keep the 1.5 degree path open and thus avert even more dramatic, irreversible impacts on our lives and the environment on our planet. We will work to this end and will use our G7 Presidency in particular to convince other countries to step up their climate ambitions and align their actions and policies with the 1.5 degree target.
How can climate change be limited?
On 4 April, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented the third part of its Sixth Assessment Report. The report summarises the current state of international research, assesses progress in curbing emissions and sheds light on the approaches to mitigating climate change. It examines the costs that these options entail, what risks there are and the contributions being made by the various different sectors. After all, emissions of greenhouse gases must be reduced across the board in all sectors and regions of the world.