The world is careening toward levels of global warming that will have irreversible impacts, a new landmark report says, but we already have the solutions — the only thing preventing us from taking advantage of them is political will and status-quo interests in fossil fuels.
The third and final installment of the sixth UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, published Monday, shows how renewable energy sources like wind and solar are now economically viable and becoming cheaper by the day. But while the focus on solutions give the report an optimistic tone, it also serves as a reminder of how policies lag far behind science, technology and even economics.
UN Secretary General António Guterres called the report “a litany of broken promises” and “a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world.””The jury has reached a verdict. And it is damning,” Guterres said.
“We are on a fast track to climate disaster.”
If the world doesn’t strengthen its policies toward renewable energy, global warming could blow through the 1.5 degree-Celsius threshold that scientists have warned of and surpass 3 degrees by the end of the century, the report’s scientists said. The planet is already around 1.1 degrees warmer than pre-industrial levels.
The report was published as much of the world grapples with an energy crunch that has sent energy prices soaring. Russia’s war in Ukraine has also moved several countries, especially in Europe, to not only wean off Russian fossil fuel exports but to replace them in part with more renewable energy.