imminent publication of the IPCC report, after intense negotiations

Steam and smoke rise from the thermal power plant located next to the Turow lignite mine near the city of Bogatynia, Poland, January 15, 2022.

How can we slow down the overheating of the planet and stop the damage and suffering it inflicts, both on humans and on nature? It is to this thorny question, eminently political, that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) must respond in a new report which should be published Monday, April 4, at 5 p.m.

This opus constitutes the third and final part of its sixth assessment report, detailing the state of scientific knowledge on climate change. The first, published in August 2021, shed light on the unprecedented acceleration of warming. The second, at the end of February, described its ever more devastating, widespread and now often irreversible effects on people and ecosystems. The third report details the range of solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Word for word

The approval of the report, which was to be completed on Friday 1er April, is way behind schedule. Delegates agreed on a text Sunday, April 3, late in the evening, but it still had to be formally approved on Monday morning. As with all IPCC reports, the politically sensitive ‘summary for policymakers’ of the multi-thousand page scientific report was fiercely negotiated over two weeks, word for word, by representatives of the 195 countries members of the IPCC, in collaboration with the authors who keep the last word. But the session went into extra time, registering the longest delay since the creation of the IPCC in 1988. The blockages focused on the exit from fossil fuels, finance, the role of technologies or equity issues, according to observers. .

The 17 chapters of this third report should review the possible scenarios for curbing global warming, breaking down the options by major sectors (energy, transport, industry, agriculture, etc.) without forgetting the questions of social acceptability, sobriety and the role of technologies, such as CO capture and storage2.

“No Miracle Cure”

“There is no miracle cure for the climate crisis, but there is a murder weapon: fossil fuels. There is no more room for their expansion”warns Nikki Reisch, climate and energy director of the Center for International Environmental Law, and one of the observers of the approval session.

NGOs are calling for an emergency exit from coal, oil and gas and an end to their subsidies, but also for the massive development of renewable energies, the transformation of agricultural and food systems or an increase in climate finance. “We already have all the solutions in hand, but we need to deploy them on a much larger scale, insists Stephen Cornelius of WWF UK. We can still act, but the window is shrinking very quickly. »

The world is not on the right trajectory. CO emissions2 of the energy sector jumped 6% in 2021, reaching an all-time high. They should still increase by 14% by 2030, compared to 2010 – if the countries apply their climate plans –, whereas they would have to be reduced by 45% to keep a chance of not exceeding 1.5°C. of warming. State pledges currently put the planet on track for 2.7°C warming by the end of the century.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers At the end of COP26, global warming is still far from being contained to 1.5°C

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