IPCC's message in the new report is clear: unless there are immediate and deep emission reductions in all sectors, the 1.5°C limit is out of reach.

The good news is that there is growing evidence of a commitment to climate action. Some countries have achieved steady emission reductions - consistent with the 2°C warming limitation - and zero emission targets have been adopted by at least 826 cities and 103 regions.

But this is not enough. More needs to be done, much more.
Globally, at every level of society.
The reward for this immense common effort will be a safer, healthier, more welcoming reality, with greater well-being and quality of life, for all.

This is the first IPCC report to provide an in-depth assessment of how human behaviour, choice and consumption can contribute to climate change mitigation. It takes into account our culture and lifestyle choices, from how we travel to work to what we buy and eat.

It provides options to better manage the land we live on, from using it to provide food and energy, to building new cities and re-imagining existing ones. Land can be part of the solution, removing carbon from the atmosphere, but it is not enough on its own.

Various parts of modern society can - and must - work together on all these areas to be more efficient, sustainable and reduce emissions and achieve net zero. Including through financing and investing in 'net zero' economies, cooperating across borders, developing effective policies, harnessing technology and innovation.

To stay within the 1.5°C limit, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 43% by 2030, methane emissions by 34%. To stay within the 2°C limit, GHG emissions must be reduced by 27% by 2030.

The temperature will stabilise when we reach net zero carbon dioxide emissions.

The good news - and with it the duty to implement them - is that there are options available now in every sector that can at least halve emissions by 2030: demand, consumption and services, energy, land use, industry, urban areas, building and construction, and transport.

These are areas where everyone can and must act: from governments to businesses, from communities to individuals.

Many options are already available in all spheres of action and society, at all levels (IPCC)

Energy: the energy sector accounts for one third of global emissions, so major transitions are needed to limit global warming, reducing fossil fuel use and using carbon capture and storage, low or zero carbon energy systems, widespread electrification and improved energy efficiency, alternative fuels such as hydrogen and sustainable biofuels.

Demand and services: there is potential to reduce global emissions by 40-70% by 2050, e.g. walking and cycling, electrified transport, reduced air travel and retrofitting of homes make a big contribution. Lifestyle changes require systematic changes throughout society, some people require additional housing, energy and resources for their well-being.

Transport: demand reduction and low-carbon technologies are key to reducing emissions, electric vehicles have the greatest potential, advances in battery technology could help electric railways and trucks, alternative fuels (hydrogen and low-emission biofuels) are needed in aviation and shipping. Overall, substantial potential, but depends on the decarbonisation of the energy sector.

Cities and urban areas: better urban planning is needed, as well as sustainable production and consumption of goods and services, electrification (low-emission energy), improved carbon absorption and storage (e.g. green spaces, ponds, trees). There are options for existing, fast-growing and new cities.

Buildings: it is possible to achieve net zero emissions in 2050, action in this decade is key to capture this potential, it involves retrofitting existing buildings and effective mitigation techniques in new buildings, it requires ambitious policy packages, zero energy and zero carbon buildings exist in new construction and refurbishment.

Industry: use materials more efficiently, reuse, recycle, minimise waste, little use in policy and practice at present. For basic materials, there are low or zero GHG production processes in pilot stage or near pilot stage for commercial application. Achieving net zero is challenging.

Carbon dioxide removal: needed to offset hard-to-remove emissions, through biological methods such as reforestation and soil carbon sequestration. New technologies require more research, upfront investment and large-scale proof of concept. Achieving net zero is essential and agreed methods of measurement, reporting and verification are needed.

Land use: Responsible land use can provide large-scale emission reductions and remove and store CO2 at scale. Natural ecosystems need to be protected and restored to remove carbon, such as forests, peatlands, coastal wetlands, savannahs and grasslands. Competing demands (e.g. forests, agriculture, etc.) need to be carefully managed; however, it cannot compensate for lagging emissions reductions in other sectors.

Closing investment gaps: Financial flows are 3-6 times lower than the levels needed by 2030 to limit warming to below 1.5°C or 2°C. Global capital and liquidity exist and are sufficient to close the investment gap, the challenge of closing the gaps is greater for developing countries.

Policies, regulatory and economic instruments: regulatory and economic instruments have already proven to be effective in reducing emissions, policies and economies are capable of achieving systemic change, ambitious and effective mitigation requires coordination between government and society.

Technology and innovation: Investment and policies drive low-emission technological innovation, effective decision-making requires assessment of potential benefits, barriers and risks. Some options are technically feasible, are rapidly becoming affordable and have relatively high public support. Other options face barriers. Adoption of low-emission technologies is slower in most developing countries, particularly in LDCs.

Renewable energies are increasingly cheap and growing in adoption (IPCC)

The evidence is clear: the time for action is now and it is necessarily global, at all levels of society.

These changes are not just about saving our skins, they are producing and will produce a safer, healthier, more comfortable reality and greater well-being in all spheres for all.

Everyone can and must play their part.

It is part of the series: Understanding the climate crisis

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