The IPCC stresses that we can halve emissions by 2030 if we act now


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) points out that the “time for action is now”. Its latest report, in which experts from 195 countries took part, concludes “there is increased evidence of climate action” and emissions can be halved by 2030.

However, as it warns, if there are not immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, “limiting global warming to 1.5 ºC” will be impossible.   Therefore, according to IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee, “we are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future”.

The future, published on 4 April, is optimistic about the increasing evidence of climate action: it points out that since 2010, there has been sustained decreases of up to 85% in the cost of renewable energies. An increasing range of policies and legislation have enhanced energy efficiency and reduce deforestation rates.

The Summary of Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group III report, ‘Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change’, states that there are options in all sectors to, at least, halve emissions by 2030. However, they insist that all those measures need to be scaled up and applied.

Sectoral changes

The report’s conclusions include measures to be implemented in the energy sector to limit global warming. The IPCC speaks of “important transitions”, which will involve a ‘substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency and use of alternative fuels such as hydrogen”.

The IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Priyadarshi Shukla stressed that having “the right policies, infrastructure and technology in place to enable changes to our lifestyles and behaviour can result in a 40-70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  He then pointed out that those lifestyle changes can improve people’s health and wellbeing.

Cities and towns are another area to implement those measures. They offer significant opportunities to lower energy consumption, including electrification of transport, zero-emissions buildings and creating compact, walkable cities.

Industry, a sector accounting for roughly a quarter of global emissions, is also another area where reducing emissions is a feasible target. According to the IPCC, some of the steps to be taken in that direction are to use materials more efficiently, reuse and recycle products and minimise waste.

Agriculture, forestry and other land use can also provide large-scale emissions reductions, according to the IPCC. However, the report points out that “land cannot compensate for delayed emissions reductions in other sectors. Response options can benefit biodiversity, help us to adapt to climate change, and secure livelihoods, food and water, and wood supplies”.

Looking forward

Between 2010 and 2019, annual average greenhouse gas emissions globally reached the highest level in the history of humanity, but have now slowed down. The IPCC states that limiting warming to around 1.5 ºC “requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest and be reduced by 48% by 2030”. Therefore, even though the viable options, implemented policies and current scenarios are encouraging, the Group of Experts urged that “it is now or never. Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible”.

Urban Klima 205, the Basque Country’s largest climate action project

LIFE IP Urban Klima 2050, the Basque Country’s largest climate action project, has already begun to transform the Basque territory by means of coordinating a total of 40 climate change mitigation and adaptation actions to be implemented between 2019 and 2015, and which can be replicated in other areas. The cooperation and involvement of all the partner institutions is key to achieving its goal of empowering local authorities and of fostering citizen participation. Urban Klima 2050 is led by Ihobe, the publicly-owned company answering to the Basque Government’s Ministry for Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment, and which is working with around twenty entities at three intervention levels: river basins, urban environments and coasts. With a budget of €19.8 million, the project will also facilitate the effective deployment of the Basque Country’s Climate Change Strategy-KLIMA 2050 at urban scale. Pilot schemes to implement nature-based solutions at municipal projects are just some of the project’s many other actions.