New Delhi: “The negative effects of climate change are worsening much faster than scientists predicted less than a decade ago and the time to limit global warming is running out,” warns the United Nations climate panel IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in its latest assessment report ‘Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change’. The report emphasizes that many of the consequences of climate change are unavoidable and warns that those consequences will disproportionately affect the world’s most vulnerable populations. However, there is still some hope as the IPCC said that collective action by governments and people to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare communities to live with global warming could still prevent the worst outcomes. The IPCC in its report calls for making drastic emission cuts across all sectors. In the report, it has elaborated on the ways to mitigate the climate crisis people are living in.
The IPCC said that reducing emissions is no longer costly and highlighted that opportunities to reduce global emissions at a low cost have increased significantly since the last such assessment in 2014. It is said that the world has tools to minimize climate change quickly and cheaply. The report has provided a list of such solutions and has identified clean electricity and agriculture, forestry, and land use as the sectors where the greatest emissions reductions can be achieved, followed by industry and transport, buildings, as well as a shift in consumer demands. However, the need to act urgently has become far more pressing, highlighted the IPCC.
Some of the major takeaways of the IPCC report are as follows:
- 10 per cent of the households with the highest per capita emissions contribute a disproportionately large share of global household greenhouse emissions. This means that the richer countries and classes need to do more to tackle this crisis.
- There are cost-effective carbon-cutting tool that together could meet half the 2030 emissions target. It will not affect the economy poorly and the global GDP would be only a few per cent lower in 2050 than on the current trajectory, not accounting for the benefits of climate damage avoided.
- Solar and wind costs fell 85 per cent and 55 per cent between 2010 and 2019, making them now cheaper than fossil-fuel-powered electricity generation in many places.
- Transportation, which caused 23 per cent of Carbon dioxide emissions from energy in 2019 (16 per cent from road vehicles alone) is poised for change, with battery prices dropping 85 per cent the last decade. Low-emitting alternatives to the production of industrial materials are only in pilot or early-commercial stages.
- The report said that digitalization, robotics, Artificial Intelligence, the internet of things are a powerful way to increase energy efficiency and manage renewable power.
- The IPCC has also assessed actions that individuals can take to reduce emissions. It said that the largest contributions from individuals towards mitigating climate change come from walking and cycling, using electrified transport, reducing air travel, as well as shifting towards plant-based diets. It emphasised on that people must understand how their individual choices matter when it comes to fighting climate change.
- The IPCC said that the governments should provide incentives to supply and use electric scooters, bikes, cars, trucks and buses. Governments should ensure individuals and businesses who want to reduce their emissions have ways to do so.
- The IPCC says cheap green hydrogen will be important to decarbonise aviation, shipping and parts of industry and agriculture. Much work is required in the next decade to bring this solution to fruition.
While the IPCC does not provide a country-level assessment, the Government of India said in its comment on the report that the report establishes India’s position on the responsibility of developed countries for large carbon emissions. Bhupender Yadav, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change said in a tweet,
The IPCC report underlines the need for deep and urgent global emissions reduction and justifies India’s emphasis on equity at all scales in climate action and sustainable development. We welcome it. The report also fully supports India’s view on the necessity of public finance for developing countries and the need for scale, scope and s2peed in Climate Finance.
The @IPCC_CH report underlines the need for deep and urgent global emissions reduction and justifies India’s emphasis on equity at all scales in climate action and sustainable development. We welcome it.
— Bhupender Yadav (@byadavbjp) April 5, 2022
On IPCC’s overriding message, Chandra Bhushan, environment and climate change expert and CEO, Chief Executive Officer · International Forum for Environment, Sustainability & Technology (iFOREST) said,
IPCC is very clear in its message that the world’s governments must go all-in on addressing climate change. The opportunities are there and the toolkit is ready. There is no room for excuses now. It has been said time and again that to have our best shot at holding the global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius as compared to the pre-industrial times, the world must hit net-zero emissions by mid-century.
According to Avinash Chanchal, Senior Climate Campaigner at Greenpeace India, there is still have hope to tackle the climate crisis. While commenting on the findings and recommendations of the report, he said,
The report clearly indicates that solutions for keeping the temperature under 1.5 degree Celsius exist which is the target decided under the Paris Agreement. But the current climate policies across governments are not sufficient to meet the Paris agreement warming limit. This decade is going to be crucial and we have to halve global emissions by 2030 and move towards a zero emissions pathway. Countries like India are already facing a greater risk from climate change and collective efforts are needed to deter that.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.