Time is running out: the stern warning from experts on how fossil fuels accelerate climate catastrophe

More than 30 million people have been displaced by the consequences of climate change and the damage caused by extreme events is seen almost daily (Photo: Pxhere)
More than 30 million people have been displaced by the consequences of climate change and the damage caused by extreme events is seen almost daily (Photo: Pxhere)

The last of the reports Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) it was final. It is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a very short time to reach the target of 1,5º or 2º Celsius. However, this situation would not be possible if governments maintained or even promoted the use of fossil fuels. Given this horizon, experts have outlined other options. One of them is based on the fact that a peak of emissions will materialize by 2025, which will decrease dramatically by 2050.

In figures, global warming is already showing its consequences. According to United Nations (UN), more than 30 million people have been displaced by the consequences of climate change and the damage caused by extreme weather events is seen almost daily. Precisely for this reason, and in consideration of the fact that the parameters set by the Paris Agreement would not be reached, but could lead to a warming two and a half times greater than that planned, the last document can be summarized in a single word: ultimatum .

The planet is already experiencing warming of over 1.1 ° C and continues to increase
The planet is already experiencing warming of over 1.1 ° C and continues to increase

“Deep and, in most cases, immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors”, underlined the experts in indicating what the next steps of the nations of the world should be to reach the established limit. Currently the planet is already experiencing warming of over 1.1 ° C and continues to increase. The main greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, although experts also point to methane, which will need to be reduced by about a third over the next 10 years.

If this trend is maintained, at the end of this century, the temperature increase will be 2.8 ° C. A figure that will impact not only as extreme natural disasters (droughts, floods, heat waves, fires), but also as loss of biodiversity and extinction of species. A situation that “completes the picture of the climate crisis that humanity is facing”.

If this course is maintained, at the end of this century, the temperature rise will be 2.8 ° C EFE / Jason Szenes
If this course is maintained, at the end of this century, the temperature rise will be 2.8 ° C EFE / Jason Szenes

For this reason, the experts showed three scenarios for the drop in greenhouse gas emissions, again compared to 2019, and their relationship with the increase in temperature:

– In order for the temperature not to exceed 2 ° C by the end of the century, emissions must decrease by 27% in 2030 and by 63% in 2050

– In order for it to not exceed 1.5 ° C, by 2030 they must drop by 43% and by 2050 by 84%.

– Drastic rise, peak and fall: The third option is targeting a peak above 1.5 ° C in 2025, a drastic decline of 23% in 2030 and a decline of 75% by 2050.

Fossil fuels in the spotlight

Regarding the consumption of fossil fuels, the numbers speak for themselves: if it were 1.5 degrees, by 2050 the global use of coal should have decreased by 100% compared to 2019, while the use of oil should be reduced by 60% and gas by 70%.

Another of the points advanced by the IPCC experts concerns the techniques for capturing carbon dioxide. Although they make it clear that these tools do not replace or compensate for the use of fossil fuels. Since, although they can help achieve this, in the words of scientists, they are still expensive and marginal. “They cannot fully compensate for the delay in action in other areas,” the scientists warned.

“It’s time we stop burning our planet and start investing in the abundant renewable energy around us,” said António Guterres, UN Secretary-General (Getty Images)

It’s time to stop burning our planet and start investing in the abundant renewable energy around us”He said about it António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations. In that tone, he stressed the decline in renewable energy costs, with experts pointing out that between 2010 and 2019 the prices of solar energy production fell by 85%, in wind they fell by 55%. and in lithium batteries 85%.

Guterres also stressed that change should be made and subsidies for fossil fuels, which are currently affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, should be avoided. “Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies would reduce emissions, improve government revenues and macroeconomic performance, and produce other environmental and sustainable development benefits”, Affirms the document issued by the IPCC, while admitting that, in the short term,“ adverse distributional effects ”can be observed for the most vulnerable. Therefore, they propose to establish “redistribution of saved income” measures.

For scientists,
For scientists, “the global economic benefit of limiting warming to 2 degrees outweighs the cost of mitigation in most of the evaluated literature” (Getty Images)

Power systems powered primarily by renewable energy are increasingly viable“, they assured from the IPCC and stressed that” although operational, technological, economic, regulatory and social challenges persist, a variety of systemic solutions have emerged to accommodate large shares of renewable energy in the energy system “.

Another point addressed in this report is the need to move away from the use of fossil fuels for transport. “Electric vehicles powered by low-emission electricity offer the greatest decarbonisation potential for land transportSaid the scientists. As they indicated, if the goal is for the global temperature to rise by 1.5 ° C, the carbon dioxide emissions of this sector will have to decrease by 59% by 2050. While if it is 2 ° C, they will have to go back 29%.

Experts warn that time is running out and that the switch to renewable energy must take about three years
Experts warn that time is running out and that the switch to renewable energy must take about three years

The overall economic benefit of limiting warming to 2 degrees outweighs the cost of mitigation in most of the literature reviewed.“, Say IPCC experts, warning that” current development paths can create behavioral, spatial, economic and social barriers to accelerate mitigation “.

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