IPCC report points to stark choices ahead, but reason for hope and action

October 8, 2018: Coal consumption must be cut drastically over the next decade and completely by 2050 if humanity is to avoid the worst impacts of catastrophic climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today revealed the massive and urgent task ahead of us to limit global warming while also providing a clear blueprint in order to achieve it.

The IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5 degrees Celsius shows that global CO2 emissions must be halved by 2030 before falling to net zero by mid century at the latest. Global warming is expected to exceed 1.5 degrees between 2030 and 2052 if it continues at current rates, reinforcing the urgency of emissions cuts.

To meet the 1.5 degree target, coal consumption would need to be cut by at least two thirds by 2030 and fall to almost zero in electricity production by 2050. Renewables would grow up to 85 per cent of electricity supply, with trends showing even higher potential. The report finds that the substantial improvement in solar, wind and electricity storage technologies could be a sign that a system transition has already started.

Oil and gas use will need to decline rapidly too. A pathway that does not rely on CO2 removal technologies would see oil declining by 37 per cent below 2010 levels by 2030.

Natural climate solutions such as forest protection and reforestation have the potential to provide over a third of the cost-effective CO2 mitigation needed through 2030 for a 2 degree target, implying high potential for 1.5 degrees too.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Head of Campaigns, Jamie Hanson, said:

“If this isn’t a wake-up call, nothing is. If Scott Morrison, Bill Shorten, and their state colleagues really give stuff about our Pacific neighbors, or indeed about our low-lying coastal cities, which are in the firing line too, then they’ll get their acts together, and get us off fossil fuels.

“They’ll close our aging coal fleet. They’ll make the necessary grid upgrades before flooding the market with abundant and cheap renewable energy. They’ll put in place incentives for folks to be buying solar, battery storage and electric cars.

“The IPCC have shown us a pathway to a safe climate; that we implement is simple, no-brainer stuff.

“Frankly – if we don’t act now, the future is scary.”

Executive Director of Greenpeace International, Jennifer Morgan, said:

“The world is on fire. In order to avoid more of these tragic fires, severe storms and loss of life, the world must halve global emissions in the next decade. This is a huge challenge, but it is doable and the costs of not following the right path are a matter of life and death to millions around the world, particularly the vulnerable.

“This IPCC report is the most unique and important climate science report we’ve had. Governmental and corporate leaders have nowhere to hide and must show they understand the science by acting with the urgency it demands. But we all have a role. Every person has to do everything in their power to change course and follow the plan that is included in the IPCC report.”

Greenpeace Head of Pacific, Kelvin Anthony, said:

“The world looks very different from the Pacific. We have no buffer. Our leaders have been showing the way on this issue for many years because we are the ones whose homelands are most vulnerable.

“I have a daughter. She’s already experienced the most severe tropical cyclone recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, and more flooding in the first three-years of her life than I had in the decade before that. I want her to be able to live a safe life in this beautiful place for long years after I am gone. That’s why I’m fighting. That’s why we will win.

“Pacific Island nations are leading as best we can. But we need the rich nations, and the high polluting nations to lead with us. We need them to power past coal, to end the age of oil.”

Senior Policy Advisor at Greenpeace Nordic, Kaisa Kosonen, said:

“Will we get there in time? Nobody knows. It’s uncharted territory we’re heading into. What matters now is that we decide to try and that we make it our absolute priority. Only then do we have a chance to protect ourselves from the devastating impacts that science says would start accelerating after 1.5 degrees.

“Those who say it’s unrealistic are actually telling us to give up on people, to give up on species, to give up on our amazing planet. We will not accept this. We do not give up on human ingenuity, courage or hope against political apathy and corporate greed. We will never give up on us.”

The  IPCC report will now feed  directly into the Talanoa Dialogue that will conclude at the annual UN climate talks in December this year (COP24) and guide governments in ramping up their climate action plans.

Greenpeace has produced a detailed briefing on the IPCC report, which can be found here.


Photos and video can be accessed here.

For Australian interviews contact:

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Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Media Campaigner

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