scorecardGovt intervention critical to remove green financing barriers, IPCC report stresses as we move towards 3.5°C warming
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Govt intervention critical to remove green financing barriers, IPCC report stresses as we move towards 3.5°C warming

Govt intervention critical to remove green financing barriers, IPCC report stresses as we move towards 3.5°C warming
SustainabilitySustainability3 min read
We might not have flying cars and teleportation yet, but we've sure begun to find solutions to solve some of our tiresome problems. On one end, we have stuff like NASA's DART mission deterring future dinosaur-level asteroid extinction threats. On the other milder end, we have artificial intelligence that could eventually automate news articles such as this one, stuff most of us didn't anticipate so soon.

Arguably, however, the complexity and immediacy of most of these problems pale when you compare them to the looming ticking time bomb of climate change. Now, we have the latest chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) report to remind us even though we've been turning over quite a few green leaves, immediate climate action is still very much the need of the hour.

The Synthesis report is the closing chapter of the Panel's Sixth Assessment of the planet and worldwide climate action. Good news first: they note that the 1.5°C warming target to limit severe climate change fuelled disasters is still achievable. The bad news? It will require an unimaginable amount of ambitious global effort and collaboration.

3.5 degrees to disaster


While we've certainly taken quite a lot of climate action in the past decade, the report still shows that the pace and scale of current efforts and plans are excruciatingly inadequate. In fact, forget 1.5-2°C, we are currently headed towards a 2.2-3.5°C spike over pre-industrial levels.

In addition to the obvious worsening heatwave-like path this puts the world on, a warming of three degrees would dramatically impact human health, the biosphere, food security and the global economy — stuff that could easily be avoided if we just stuck to 1.5°C.

"Almost half of the world's population lives in regions that are highly vulnerable to climate change. In the last decade, deaths from floods, droughts and storms were 15 times higher in highly vulnerable regions," notes Aditi Mukherji, one of the 93 authors of the report. India remains one of the regions that also stand to be disproportionately affected.

What's even more cruel and unfair is that many regions that have contributed the least to climate change absorb most of its effects. This makes climate justice, especially by developed nations like the United States, United Kingdom and China that are responsible for murking up our oceans and atmosphere in their industrial endeavours, that much more critical.

The profitable fruit of sustainable development


The other good news is that climate action can actually be profitable, the report lineates. In order to cut emissions by half by 2030 and stick to the 1.5°C target, climate-resilient development is quintessential. Adopting cleaner technology, promoting cycling and public transport could help improve air quality, health, employment opportunities and equity, especially for women and children.

Not only would this help with the fifth Sustainable Development Goal that seeks to achieve gender equality, but the economic benefits from improving health from air quality enhancements would be almost the same or even higher than the costs of reducing or avoiding emissions as well.

"The greatest gains in wellbeing could come from prioritising climate risk reduction for low-income and marginalised communities, including people living in informal settlements," explains Christopher Trisos, another author of the report.

Government intervention key


Another key point the IPCC report highlights is the fact that there is sufficient global capital available to reduce greenhouse emissions rapidly; we just need to grab and leverage them better. There is a colossal need for further climate financing, and this can only be achieved when governments help reduce investment barriers.

Existing policy measures have already proven highly effective in achieving deep emission reductions in many countries, and we need to ensure these are adopted and scaled up appropriately worldwide. Nations must share technologies and create a collaborative ecosystem to speed up climate mitigation.

In fact, we just need to equitably conserve about 30-50% of the Earth's land, freshwater and oceans to ensure our planet remains healthy, the World Meteorological Organisation notes.

"Transformational changes are more likely to succeed where there is trust, where everyone works together to prioritise risk reduction, and where benefits and burdens are shared equitably," says the Chair of the IPCC, Hoesung-Lee.

"We live in a diverse world in which everyone has different responsibilities and different opportunities to bring about change. Some can do a lot while others will need support to help them manage the change," he concludes.

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