World reacts to IPCC report

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Following the release of the latest IPCC report, which has called for immediate and large-scale action to limit global warming to 1.5°C, voices from politics, science, industry and civil society have responded. Aside from a minority – primarily in Australia – the IPCC report has been welcomed the world over. How reactions translate into action, however, remains to be seen.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

“This report by the world’s leading climate scientists is an ear-splitting wake-up call to the world. It confirms that climate change is running faster than we are, and we are running out of time. […] I urge all countries to make the Katowice Climate Conference a success and heed the counsel of the world’s top scientists: raise ambition, rapidly strengthen their national climate action plans, and urgently accelerate implementation of the Paris Agreement,” said the UN chief. […] We must rise to the challenge of climate action and do what science demands before it is too late.”

Adnan Z. Amin, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

“IRENA’s analysis shows that renewable energy and energy efficiency represent the most cost-effective pathway for achieving 90% of the energy-related CO2 emission reductions needed to meet the ‘well below 2 degrees objective’ of the Paris Agreement. The world of energy is witnessing rapid and disruptive changes. Renewables already account for around a quarter of global electricity generation. In the last six years, renewable power capacity additions outpaced additions from fossil fuels and nuclear power combined. However, if we are to meet our climate goals, renewables deployment must accelerate six times faster than today.”

Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete for Climate Action and Energy and Commissioner Carlos Moedas for Research, Science and Innovation

“In short, as there is no planet B, saving our planet Earth should be our number one mission. To this end, research and Innovation will play a crucial role in our efforts to tackle climate change and the EU will continue to lead in that domain. We have put climate at the heart of our proposal for Horizon Europe, the new EU’s research and innovation programme. We propose to invest 35% of the programme to climate objectives, through the development of innovative and cost-effective zero-carbon solutions. We must raise our ambitions in combating climate change in line with the outcome of this report and turn today’s challenges into opportunities.”

Svenja Schulze, German Federal Environment Minister

“Every tonne of CO 2 avoided, every tenth of a degree of global warming avoided counts, and this transformation brings with it many changes and a great opportunity to make our economy more sustainable and make our society more liveable.”

Lars Christian Lilleholt, Danish Energy Minister

“We need everyone to take a common responsibility that we have reduced the now very visible consequences of climate change have around the globe. We are pushing the EU and our international cooperation, and we are going to press on at COP 24 in Poland in December, so the entire UN take joint responsibility.”

François de Rugy, French energy minister,

“In France, the government has set an ambitious target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. But we need more than ever to continue our efforts. At the end of the month, we will present our new low carbon strategy. Deployment of clean mobility, phasing out of fossil fuels, [decrease] our energy consumption and our waste production. We must not weaken now.”

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in an interview with 2GB Radio

“No we’re not held to any of them at all Alan, nor are we bound to go and tip money into that big climate fund, we’re not going to do that either. So, I’m not going to spend money on global climate conferences and all that sort of nonsense, I’m not going to get in there – […] So long as we’re not throwing money into some global climate fund and getting pulled around by the nose by all these international agencies when it comes to these other reports. I mean the same report that’s coming out today, said a year ago the policies were fine. You know, we’re investing in the Reef to ensure that’s secure. We’re taking the practical action that you need to take, but we don’t get led around by the nose by these organisations.”

Australia’s Environment Minister Melissa Price, in an Interview with ABC

“[…] Coal does form a very important part of the Australian energy mix, and we make no apology for the fact that our focus at the moment is on getting electricity prices down. I just don’t know how you could say by 2050 that you not going to have technology that’s going to enable good, clean technology when it comes to coal. […] I mean, I just think that’s…  You know, that would be irresponsible of us to be able to commit to that.”

AL Gore, former US Vice President and presidential candidate

“The Paris Agreement was monumental, but we must now go further, ratchet up commitments and develop solutions that meet the scale of the climate crisis. The report will encourage the development of new technologies, which is important. However, time is running out, so we must capitalise and build upon the solutions available today. Solving the climate crisis requires vision and leadership. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has become a rogue outlier in its shortsighted attempt to prop up the dirty fossil fuel industries of the past. The administration is in direct conflict with American businesses, states, cities, and citizens leading the transformation.”

Hillary Clintion, former US Secretary of State and presidential candidate

“We have barely 10 years to ward off catastrophic warming with destabilizing effects for all of us. Our children and grandchildren deserve action, and action now.”

The UNFCC

The IPCC’s special report clearly states that the world has already warmed by 1ºC due to human activity. As a result, climate change is already affecting people, ecosystems and livelihoods across the globe, with impacts such as floods or droughts disproportionately affecting the poorest and most vulnerable. Some of the most affected areas are small islands, megacities, coastal regions and high mountain ranges. […] According to the IPCC’s report, limiting warming to 1.5ºC is possible, but requires unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society. To minimize future global warming, we will need to achieve zero net emissions by mid-century. This in turn will require us to rapidly transition the world’s economy onto such a pathway. Over the next 10 to 20 years we must transform our energy, agricultural, urban and industrial systems, engage non-state actors, and integrate climate action into the broader public policy framework that also addresses jobs, security and technology.

Kristina Thoring, Communications Director at SolarPower Europe

“The Paris Agreement obliges us to decarbonise our societies, we cannot afford a business as usual approach. The solutions are obvious, replacing fossil fuels with solar is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to cut greenhouse gases. Solar power reduces global CO2 emissions by 200-300 million tonnes annually, equivalent to the total greenhouse gas emissions of France. We need to accelerate the deployment of solar power to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

Dr. Andrew Steer, President & CEO, World Resources Institute

“Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees will require a radical transformation of economic and social systems at a scale never seen before. This is difficult, but by no means impossible. We know how to do it, and we know that it will lead to a much healthier economy and much healthier citizens. We now know that accelerated climate action can lead to large economic benefits, including a $26 trillion win. But this will require the emergence of global leadership that is missing today. Identifying and supporting this leadership must be a top priority.”

UK Solar Trade Association’s chief executive, Chris Hewett

The IPCC report today amplifies already very widespread calls for the UK Government to get behind low-cost solar and wind. The message couldn’t be clearer; time is running out. Our industry stands ready to roll out solutions which are extremely popular with the public, and no longer require subsidy, but Government has put too many barriers in the way. Let’s be clear, a smart, flexible, renewables pathway is now the cheapest pathway. All we need to deliver that is fair tax treatment, fair market access and level playing fields. We’ve been repeating this message for years  – action is now needed.”

Executive director of Greenpeace International, Jennifer Morgan

“The world is on fire. In order to avoid more of these tragic fires, severe storms and loss of life, the world must halve global emissions in the next decade. This is a huge challenge, but it is doable and the costs of not following the right path are a matter of life and death to millions around the world, particularly the vulnerable.This IPCC report is the most unique and important climate science report we’ve had. Governmental and corporate leaders have nowhere to hide and must show they understand the science by acting with the urgency it demands. But we all have a role. Every person has to do everything in their power to change course and follow the plan that is included in the IPCC report.”

Karin Nansen, chair, Friends of the Earth International

“This is a climate emergency. The IPCC 1.5 report starkly illustrates the difference between temperature rises of 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees – for many around the world this is a matter of life and death. It is crucial to keep temperature rise well below 1.5 degrees without offsetting, carbon markets and geoengineering, but the evidence presented by the IPCC shows that there is a narrow and shrinking window in which to do so. Activists across the world are mobilizing to call for an end to fossil fuels, dirty energy and dangerous technologies. Common but differentiated responsibilities and payment of the climate debt must be at the foundation of climate action. We want a just transition to a clean energy system that benefits people not corporations.”

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