5 hopeful takeaways from the latest international climate report

A new report from some of the world’s top climate scientists summarizes what they’ve learned over the past five years. It’s a lot of information, but five points stand out:

There is good news on future projections of climate change. A combination of factors – including increased commitments – has resulted in a reduction in projected warming of at least one degree from a very high emissions scenario. There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but this shows that the future is not set in stone. We can make it safer. Now we have to keep making those advances.

The cost of clean energy technologies has fallen drastically and unexpectedly fast in the last decade: 85% for solar power, 55% for wind power and 85% for batteries. These changes mean that clean energy is simply becoming cheaper than dirty energy.

Every bit of avoided heating makes a difference, especially when it comes to extreme weather. There isn’t a single “cliff” after which additional warming doesn’t matter. What happens in the coming decades will be determined by the decisions we make and the actions we take now.

We must now transition from fossil fuels to clean energy as quickly as possible to avoid the worst effects of climate change. And most importantly, less and less fossil fuels should be used to generate electricity. In the event of an operation, we would have to capture the carbon dioxide and store it safely and significantly reduce emissions of the strong climate pollutant methane.

Climate protection is good for business – in the long run. While the upfront cost of helping countries transition away from fossil fuels is high, purpose-built strategies can help address this challenge and provide a tremendous economic opportunity. And the value – both economic and human – of avoiding the drastic effects of a changing climate is enormous. Remember, if this were easy, we would have solved it already!

Where do we really stand on climate change? numbers to know:

3.3-3.6 billion

About 3.3 to 3.6 billion people are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because of where they live or the resources they depend on for survival.

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The planet has already warmed by 1.1°C since pre-industrial times. That leaves the world with just 0.4°C of warming before it hits 1.5°C — the threshold at which scientists say the likelihood of catastrophic climate impacts increases significantly.


The richest 10% of households worldwide are responsible for between a third and almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions, while the poorest 50% of households contribute only 15% of emissions.


The food system, including production, transportation, waste and more, is responsible for about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions.


Nature – including plants, animals, soil and oceans – has absorbed 54% of human-caused carbon emissions over the past 10 years. But as emissions progress, that ability diminishes, meaning more man-made emissions will remain in the atmosphere.


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