Average annual global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reached their highest levels between 2010-2019, however, the rate of growth has slowed, according to the latest report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Scientists involved in the report recognised that there is increasing evidence of climate action, however, immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors are needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
The report Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change published today (Monday, April 4) is the third contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report.
An increasing range of policies and laws have enhanced energy efficiency, reduced rates of deforestation and accelerated the deployment of renewable energy, according to the IPCC.
IPCC chair, Hoesung Lee, said decisions taken now can secure a liveable future. He explained:
"There are policies, regulations and market instruments that are proving to be effective. If these are scaled up and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation."
The third working group assessment shows that limiting warming to around 2°C still requires global GHG emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and then be reduced by a quarter by 2030.
Agriculture, forestry and other land use can provide large-scale emissions reductions and also remove and store carbon dioxide at scale, according to the IPCC.
However, the report said, "land cannot compensate for delayed emissions reductions in other sectors".
IPCC working group three co-chair, Jim Skea, said that climate change is the result of more than a century of unsustainable energy and land use, lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production.
Ireland's climate action
Meanwhile, Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan said the report underlines the importance of the government’s commitment to speed up Ireland’s switch to alternative energy systems and to reduce GHG emissions. He said:
"Only through delivering on our commitments under the Paris Agreement can we achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."
Effective international cooperation through partnerships and agreements, the minister said, is critical for achieving climate change mitigation goals - at national, regional and sectoral levels.
The minister said he is looking forward to working with international partners at the next annual United Nations' (UN) climate conference, COP27, in Egypt later this year to ensure increased ambition and to finalise key discussions.
These will focus on climate finance to ensure appropriate supports for the most vulnerable countries, and, as the latest IPCC report reflects, financial flows into climate action need to be increased to achieve mitigation goals, Minister Ryan said.
He added that this year the government will adopt Ireland’s first carbon-budget programme, including sectoral emission targets.