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The path to 1.5 Degree

The latest scientific assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reiterates the urgent need for immediate and substantial action. Global greenhouse gas emissions are alarmingly high, causing extensive damage from the climate crisis. It’s crucial to urgently reduce emissions drastically within the next three decades to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and mitigate severe impacts.

The most affected populations, who bear the least responsibility for this crisis, are already facing its severe consequences, and they require immediate support for adaptation and recovery, highlighting the importance of equity and climate justice.

In a bid to mobilize swift action from various stakeholders—governments, businesses, finance, local authorities, and civil society—the United Nations Secretary-General has called for a Climate Ambition Summit on 20 September 2023 in New York. This summit holds significant political value, showcasing a unified global will to expedite a just transition towards an equitable, renewable energy-driven, and climate-resilient global economy.

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The Global Stocktake

The Global Stocktake (GST), the most comprehensive assessment of global action on climate change to date, revealed that current global efforts to combat climate change are significantly insufficient to achieve the long-term goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.

The review emphasized the urgent need for enhanced actions and more ambitious commitments from nations to limit global warming and accelerate climate adaptation and mitigation measures.

Despite some positive strides, the overall assessment signals a critical gap in progress toward the 1.5°C target, highlighting the necessity for stronger policies, increased investments, and collective global action to address climate challenges effectively.

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These the key recommendations from the GST:

  • Climate Action Urgency: The GST findings emphasize the need for increased investments this decade to combat the climate crisis. Governments and businesses recognize that swift emissions reduction can be achieved through prioritizing wind, solar, energy efficiency, and nature conservation.
  • Phase Out Fossil Fuels: The technical report highlights the urgency to rapidly phase out coal within the next 7 years and gradually decrease unabated fossil fuel usage over the next two decades. Redirecting investments toward clean energy is crucial to achieve this goal.
  • Cost-Effective Early Investments: Immediate investments in climate action are imperative as they prove to be more cost-effective in the long run. Climate-related disasters are already causing loss of life and significant financial damage due to delayed adaptation efforts. Addressing climate impacts now will prevent future economic losses and reduce human suffering.
  • Global Collaborative Effort: The GST represents an extensive and inclusive global review of climate action, involving diverse stakeholders such as governments, businesses, farmers, indigenous communities, and civil society. It underscores the importance of united global action and emphasizes that COP28 is a pivotal moment requiring leadership to drive substantial clean energy investments, support for developing nations, nature protection, and a clear roadmap away from fossil fuels.

We have the solutions

  • Clean energy solutions are becoming cheaper and more accessible globally. Wind and solar energy costs have dropped 60% and 80% respectively and are set to represent 30% of global power by 2030.
  • Governments and businesses acknowledge that rapid reduction of emissions can be attained by giving priority to wind, solar, energy efficiency, but need to back this up with significant investments.

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Phase Out Fossil Fuels

  • The evidence is everywhere, every major government must deliver tougher emissions cuts. The technical GST report, underlines the need to swiftly eliminate coal within the next 7 years and progressively reduce the use of unabated fossil fuels, (coal, oil and gas resources that don’t have mechanisms to remove the bulk of their emissions), over the next two decades. Shifting investments towards clean energy is imperative to attain this objective.

Raised stakes in New York

  • The UN Secretary General emphasizes, we need action over talk at the Climate Ambition Summit on 20 Sept. Over 100 countries have expressed interest, submitting plans for participation. This highlights the global urgency for stronger climate action as a top priority for jobs and growth in the 2020s. Governments around the world need to accelerate plans to curb emissions and protect their citizens.

© Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash.

Bold Finance Ambition

  • Emphasizing Ambition: Countries must articulate a profound vision to overhaul the multilateral system, recognizing its inadequacy for developing nations. Institutions like the World Bank and IMF, created under the outdated Bretton Woods system, require substantial transformation to effectively address contemporary challenges. A transparent roadmap for achieving these reforms is imperative.
  • Scaling Investments: Prosperous nations need to outline actions and collaborate on solutions to collectively elevate global investments to 2-2.5% of the global GDP by 2030, bridging the $100bn climate finance deficit. A clear and achievable pathway towards these objectives is crucial.
  • Addressing Debt: Multilateral institutions, notably the IMF and World Bank, play a vital role in assisting low-income and vulnerable countries in debt distress. Key stakeholders must make significant strides in debt restructuring and advancing the common framework for reform.
  • Vision for Growth: The World Bank and other MDBs must unlock trillions of dollars in low-cost finance for developing nations, significantly amplifying their lending to bolster resilience. This involves maximizing existing resources, assuming greater risk, enhancing financial innovation, refining credit agency assessments, and ensuring better access to data and analysis. The WB/IMF annual meetings should serve as a platform for the World Bank to present an ambitious vision.