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The United Nations body known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases a comprehensive assessment every six years detailing the science of climate change

The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report covers the path we need to take to tackle the climate crisis. Here are five key takeaways:

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1. It’s now or never

The coming years are critical. Global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 at the latest. Emissions need to be reduced by 43 per cent by 2030, and methane by a third.

“It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 °C (2.7°F),” says Jim Skea, co-chair of IPCC Working Group III. “Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.” 

2. We have options

Solutions can be broken down into four categories; climate mitigation, adaptation, finance, and green technology.  

By using natural climate solutions, we can find cost effective methods to limit global warming. Besides tech solutions such as wind and solar power, we need to focus on ecosystem restoration, protection and management of biomass and land. Urban planning is crucial for this, ensuring low energy consumption cities that are sustainable and efficient. A holistic approach that accelerates energy efficiency and cultivates biodiversity is key.  

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3. Bridging investment gaps

The report found that we are lacking 29 times what’s needed to counter climate change and stabilise the environment. It would cost $400 billion a year until 2050 to limit warming to less than 2°C, an amount less than subsidies currently given to carbon heavy industries. The report indicates enough capital to achieve climate goals but this will require the international community, private sectors, and governments to align on policy and finance.  

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4. Equitable implementation

The connection between climate change and inequality is obvious. Wealthier populations contribute 36 to 45 per cent of emissions, while middle and lower-income brackets give off up to 50 times below that. Despite developing nations contributing lower emissions per capita, they will be the ones most affected by floods, droughts, and other climate change effects. Climate mitigation projects should create opportunities for all and keep justness at the forefront in the order to create fairer, sustainable societies.

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5. We can do it

Previous IPCC reports have stated that we are behind on climate commitments but this one bears a more hopeful message—we have the tools and know-how to get back on track. Governments and private sectors alike need to push harder to accelerate sustainable commitments, de-carbonise economies, and prioritise nature. A future riddled with climate disaster is not inevitable. We are at a critical crossroad but we can still prevent global climate catastrophe if we act now. 

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