The latest flagship UN report on climate change released on Monday calls for a now or never action plan. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2022 report highlights how the world has only a slim chance of limiting global heating to 1.5 degree Celsius and is falling behind on its low-carbon footing.
Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is beyond reach. It requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by 43 per cent by 2030.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unliveable world.”
This is the third instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report since 1988. The IPCC’s Assessment Reports, which are produced every few years, are the most comprehensive and widely accepted scientific evaluations of the state of the Earth’s climate.
What is of concern is that the report highlights that even if we do this, it is almost inevitable that we will temporarily exceed this temperature threshold but could return to below it by the end of the century.
What it means for India
India has committed it would cease to be a net carbon dioxide emitted by 2070. Though renewable energy sources are being tapped India has insisted on its right to use coal given its developmental needs. Without doubt, 10% of biggest emitters account for a disproportionate amount of global emissions.
According to Central Electricity Authority, India has about 211 GW of operational coal-fired power plants—almost 10% of global capacity and none have the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology to negate emoissions.
Technologies such as carbon dioxide removal will become valuable, to limit and reduce carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, for the world to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Tree planting is not going to save us. The long term solution involves effectively phasing out coal use.
Technologies such as direct air capture and CCS will allow in negating the emissions. CCS takes carbon dioxide from fossil fuel power plants which is liquefied and pumped underground for long-term storage in depleted oil or gas fields. Though it has been around for two decades, it is currently used only at a small scale, due to cost factor.
As per the panel all coal-fired power plants, without the technology of CCS need to be shuttered by 2050 if the world aspired to limit global temperature rise to 1.5c.
The IPCC has made it clear that everything include demand for energy-intensive goods. For instance, eating less meat, will be needed to reduce methane in particular.
The COP27 summit in Egypt this November will take this report forward on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, in line with a 1.5C target.