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IPCC Report Warns Global Warming to Exceed 1.5°C Threshold by 2030

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cautioned the world on March 20 that it was still not doing enough to keep global temperatures from exceeding the 1.5°C barrier, despite having ‘multiple, viable, and effective choices’ to do so.

Shivam Dwivedi
India's future development must be aligned with climate goals
India's future development must be aligned with climate goals

The IPCC, a UN-backed worldwide scientific group, stated in its most recent report that average temperatures had already hit 1.1 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels, and that the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold was "more likely than not" to be reached in the "short term" itself.

The Synthesis Report, which is a compilation of the five previous reports produced between 2018 and 2022, marks the end of the IPCC's sixth assessment cycle, which began in 2015. It contains three sections of the main sixth assessment report, one special report on the feasibility of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and another on the linkages between the seas and the cryosphere. They constitute the most comprehensive scientific understanding of the science of climate change, its consequences, and the actions that must be taken.

"According to the synthesis report, there is a 50% possibility that global surface temperature will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius in any single year by 2030. The modelling indicates that it is theoretically conceivable to restrict warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but the current scale, scope, and pace of global action, which has been pledged until 2030, is insufficient. We are not on pace, and the study confirms this," said Professor Joyashree Roy, one of the Synthesis report's 93 authors.

If the temperature rise exceeds the 1.5 degree threshold, there could be irreparable consequences, according to Roy. According to the new analysis, human activities contributed around 1.07 degrees Celsius of the 1.1 degree Celsius temperature rise since pre-industrial times. It stated that the globe emitted around 2,400 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide between 1850 and 2019, with slightly more than 1,000 billion tonnes, or approximately 42%, emitted after 1990.

According to the analysis, in order to have a 50% probability of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the globe must not release more than 500 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent beyond 2020. In addition, current annual emissions in 2019 totaled 59 billion tonnes. That means the carbon budget of 500 billion tonnes would be depleted in less than ten years.

The Synthesis Report also stated that climate consequences were "unequally dispersed," with the poor and vulnerable being the most vulnerable. As a result, it emphasised the importance of incorporating "different values, worldviews, and knowledge, including scientific knowledge, indigenous knowledge, and local knowledge" into climate change mitigation efforts.

"This strategy will assist climate resilient development while also allowing for locally relevant and socially acceptable alternatives," the report stated. Aditi Mukherjee, another report author, stated that India was one of the countries that will be affected on a major scale.

"Even though India's per capita emissions are less, and we have far less historical responsibility (of emissions), the reality is India is at the forefront of repercussions. “We just cannot claim that because we haven't emitted much, we will not be the ones to act. Everyone must respond immediately in accordance with their national context and circumstances," Mukherjee added. According to the report, while adaptation planning and implementation had evolved across all sectors and regions, significant gaps remained.

"For those irreversible repercussions that result in losses and damages, the research emphasises the need for better quantification of those losses and damages, as we still do not have those quantified to the extent that policymakers require for negotiations," Mukherjee says.

 

Joyashree Roy stated that India's future development must be aligned with climate goals. In terms of energy, India is one of the emerging countries who have been adopting energy efficiency in all areas, be it the household sector, industry sector or transport sector. As a result of one of these initiatives, India may be able to attain low per capita emission increase. India can do more, but it has already done a lot in that regard. India can decarbonize its energy supply sector by deploying renewable energy sources other than solar and wind. "What India can also do is lower energy demand and achieve distributional justice by eliminating excessive energy consumption," she added.

"On the demand side, when India expands its cities or urban infrastructure, it can see how it can integrate infrastructure design that allows more space for cyclists, pedestrians, or a better public transportation system, access to different technologies for recycling, food waste reduction, and so on," says a spokesperson. According to the IPCC assessment, among the primary impediments to effective climate action are limited resources, insufficient financing, a lack of urgency, and a lack of political commitment.

"Apart from governmental finance, there are additional outlets including private finance, local finance, national and international, bilateral, and multilateral finance. Grants, technical help, loans, bonds, equity, risk insurance, and financial guarantees are all examples of this.

This implies that we should not simply consider the movement of finance from rich to poor countries. Accelerated financial support for developing nations from developed countries and other sources, on the other hand, is a vital enabler for improving adaptation and mitigation activities in poor countries. "But, it is equally critical to recognise that public financing is an essential enabler of adaptation and mitigation, and that it may leverage private money," Roy said.

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