United Nations Environment’s Chief Scientist, Jacqueline McGlade, said that based on the analysis of the UN’s Emissions Gap Report that peak carbon dioxide needs to happen before 2020 if the world wants to stay close to 1.5⁰C .
“I really really urge us to engage all of society to do all we can. If not we will not reach 1.5 degrees, we will not make 2 degrees,” Ms McGlade said. “This is no time for prevarication, it is time for us to bring everybody into the tent and we have to make it count. We have to be able to measure our reductions, it has to be transparent and it has to be provable.”
Daniel Kammen, Distinguished Professor of Energy, University of California Berkeley, and Science Envoy for the US State Department said that dramatic decarbonization was not only possible in many places but also cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives.
“In study after study, we have seen that in a whole range of developed and developing economies that for realistic and cost-effective transitions rapid decarbonization is entirely possible, and is frequently less expensive than the fossil fuel alternatives on the table,” Mr Kammen said. “What needs to catch up are the regulatory and governess like carbon pricing. It therefore increasingly imprtnat to assist countries around the world, rich and poor, to take steps to decarbonize and reduce SLCPs the most seriously.”
Dr Maria Neira, Director of the World Health Organization’s Public Health and the Environment Department said that there is an additional reason why we should act now and not wait.
“According to our estimates we have 12.6 million premature deaths every year caused by environmental risk factors that could be reduced if take the actions being described,” she said. “In all of these activities we see an enormous opportunity for health and if we can quantify the health benefits that will be obtained by acting we will see the societal transformations we are looking for. We need to link these climate mitigation activities to the health of people.”
Ken Alex, from the office of California Governor Jerry Brown, discussed the role sub-national governments can play to rapidly reduce warming.
“California is the fifth largest economy in the world, we are showing how highly industrialized economies can make substantial reductions. California’s SLCP reduction strategy aims to cut 40% of methane, 50% of black carbon and 40% of HFCs by 2030,” Mr Alex said. “Sub-nationals are often more nimble and have the ability to take more immediate action and provide pilot programs and pathways for national and international efforts.”
The report was written by over thirty experts in climate science, economics, policy, and national security, from China, EU, India, UK and US takes a new approach to staying below 2ºC and thus avoid extreme and unmanageable climate changes. The report identifies 4 building blocks for climate policy success and 10 scalable solutions implemented through multi- dimensional and multi-sectoral methods to get the global economy and society to achieve rapid reductions in short lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality and climate stability by 2050.