In its starkest warning yet about the challenges facing humanity, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said Sunday humans are responsible for all of the planet’s warming since 1951.
The Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change includes a strict carbon budget for governments for the first time. More than two-thirds of that carbon budget has already been used up and at current rates the world would burn through the rest in less than 30 years, the panel warned.
“With this latest report, science has spoken yet again and with much more clarity. Time is not on our side,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Leaders must act.”
For the best chance of avoiding severe levels of warming, governments will need to peak emissions, rapidly phase fossil fuels down to zero and transition to 100 per cent renewable energy, the report said.
This transition is not only possible, but economically viable, according to the IPCC. Since 2007, clean energy costs have dropped dramatically and continuing down a path of investing in renewable energy will be cheaper than paying a growing bill for “severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts.”
The report sets governments a clear choice: “Either put policies in place to achieve this essential shift, or they can spend the rest of their careers dealing with climate disaster after climate disaster.”