Climate experts react to IPCC report as efforts to limit global temperature rise continue

(Last Updated On: 28 March 2023)

“The realities of the recent IPCC report are visible across Asia, with increasingly frequent typhoons, flooding, and heat waves. Post-pandemic, our communities and lives are even more vulnerable to these impacts than before,” said Norly Grace Mercado, 350.org Asia Regional Director.

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released on March 20, 2023, makes it clear that a rapid and equitable phase-out of all fossil fuels is necessary to avoid overshoot and minimize irreversible harm to people and ecosystems. This is given the inequitable and catastrophic impact that exceeding a global temperature rise of 1.5°C will have on human rights and equity.

The synthesis report is the last of the Sixth Assessment Report products, released in time to inform the 2023 Global Stocktake by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

UNFCCC was established on 21 March 1994, and today, as per the information on its official website, it is near-universal membership.

The 198 countries that have ratified the Convention are called Parties to the Convention. Preventing “dangerous” human interference with the climate system is the ultimate aim of the UNFCCC.

According to information, this year (2023) is when countries will review progress towards the Paris Agreement goals, including the goal of pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C

May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org said of the report: “This report urgently demands a phase-out of fossil fuels and a just transition to publicly and community-centered renewable energy and it demands it at the speed and scale that the climate crisis necessitates.”

He added that “there are reasons to be hopeful, investment into renewable energy is at an all-time high, but the reality is that powering up on renewables will only have an impact if we power down fossil fuels. We can add as much renewable energy capacity as we like to the mix — but if we’re not eliminating emissions that come from fossil fuel use, we’re not getting anywhere”.

According to Landry Ninteretse of 350.org Africa Regional Director, “For communities at the frontline of the climate crisis across the continent, intensifying climate impacts are a painful manifestation of the climate injustice faced by those who have contributed the least to climate change.”

Recently, she said Cyclone Freddy has devastated communities in Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar, leading to the loss of over 600 lives, displacement of communities, and destruction of infrastructure.

“The possibility of catastrophic climate impacts that scientists project, if global heating exceeds the limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius, is unthinkable. This calls for commitment to phase out fossil fuels globally and foster a just transition to community-centered renewable energy. Additionally, climate-vulnerable countries need the support of wealthy nations to build resilience against these impacts.”

Speaking about the same report, Joseph Sikulu, 350.org Pacific Managing Director said: Just last month we saw two tropical cyclones tear through Vanuatu within the span of one week, devastating communities. 1.5 degrees isn’t just a target for the Pacific, it is a limit. To stay below that limit, we need a fast, fair, and financed transition away from fossil fuels. Just last week, 6 Pacific countries signed the Port Vila Call for a Just Transition to a Fossil Fuel Free Pacific, while rich, developed countries continue to approve new oil and gas fields.”

Sikulu further says we bear almost no historical responsibility for the climate crisis but are willing to lead the transition away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy, adding that “there is still hope and the solutions to this crisis exist, but it’s going to first take a just and equitable phase-out of fossil fuels to make this possible”.

 “The realities of the recent IPCC report are visible across Asia, with increasingly frequent typhoons, flooding, and heat waves. Post-pandemic, our communities, and lives are even more vulnerable to these impacts than before. To avoid more loss of life and livelihoods, we need to urgently take action to stay within the 1.5 degrees Paris Agreement target,” said Norly Grace Mercado, 350.org Asia Regional Director.

He added that overshooting 1.5 degrees would be completely disregarding the realities of communities on the frontlines right this moment. We can only do this if countries like Japan cease to block phase-out incentives at the G7 level, and richer nations distribute the resources needed to fund the just transition to 100% renewable energy.

350.org’s Japan Team Lead, Masayoshi Iyoda also has this to say: “The IPCC has made it crystal clear enough that richer nations such as Japan have a historical responsibility to take the lead in accelerating the phase-out of all fossil fuels, and the just transition to renewables.”

Iyoda noted that Climate denialism is not only “immoral but also non-scientific and economically unreasonable”. “Japan must stop playing the role of a merchant of false solutions through its controversial “Green” Transformation (GX) policy which includes fossil-ammonia/hydrogen co-firing, nuclear, and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS/CCUS).”

Ilan Zugman is the Latin America Regional Director of 350.org. He believed “the scenario presented by the IPCC report is palpable in several places in Latin America, where denialist governments have acted, in recent years, as accomplices in the expansion of fossil fuels, while Indigenous peoples and social movements have led the demand for renewable energies”.

In countries like Brazil and Colombia, he stated that new governments seem to be more attentive to frontline communities’ demands for a just energy transition, but have yet to show concrete actions, such as banning fracking and oil and gas subsidies.

“These are countries with enormous potential to lead the generation of energy through renewable sources and a model centered on people’s needs and not on the profit of fossil fuel companies”.

While the IPCC report summarizes what humanity needs to do to solve the climate crisis, governments, companies, and banks involved in projects like Vaca Muerta, in Argentina, demonstrate the limitless greed that brought us to this emergency, Ilan noted, adding that we cannot push developing countries to do the dirty work that rich countries no longer want, the energy transition needs to be global.

Clémence Dubois, 350.org France Team Lead said: How many times will our governments sign off on these catastrophic scientific analyses and then fail to take appropriate action? If governments won’t act, then we will. People across Europe, and the world, are gathering to stop banks and wealthy shareholders profiteering from fossil fuels – as most people are forced to choose between heating and eating.”

“We are building power to take on the oil giants, like TotalEnergies, so that they pay for the damage they have, and continue to cause. And we are forming new coalitions to power down fossil fuels as we power up a new economy, based on community-owned renewables that work for the many, not the few.

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