The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released their third assessment report addressing climate change mitigation, concluding a three-part series.
The first report discussed the physical basis of climate change, while the second assessed how humans, biodiversity and ecosystems will be impacted by the warming climate. This report looks at how we can mitigate climate change.
The findings are confronting. If we hope to limit warming to 1.5C, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 45% within the decade, and require transformative change across every sector.
While this may sound like a daunting task, the report clearly outlines that we already have the strategies and information required, and we now have to implement them.
“This latest IPCC report is telling us what we already knew – we have the knowledge and tools to slow and limit our warming,” says Our Seas Our Future (OSOF) policy coordinator, Gemma Coutts. “Climate change may be a long term issue but it requires immediate action.”
“In Aotearoa, for example, our electricity comes from 80% renewable sources, while the other 20% is sourced from oil, coal or gas. We are so close to reaching 100% renewable electricity, yet frustratingly we still have a reliance on fossil fuels.”
Across the globe, governments and corporations who benefit from the use of fossil fuels, continue to undermine the renewable energy sector. These corporations must be held accountable or they will continue to exploit the planet for their own gain. This starts with policy.
“In May, the government is set to release their Emissions Reduction Plan,” explains Coutts. “OSOF wants to see robust ways to transition to a lower emissions future – particularly for the agriculture, energy, transport and waste sectors. Repeatedly, we see a number of sectors reporting high emissions, but there are no plans on how they will transition to more sustainable practices.”
While these IPCC reports have always been significant, the latest series has itself been groundbreaking. For the first time since the IPCC’s inception, ‘colonialism’ has been acknowledged as an historic ‘driver of the climate crisis,’ and an ongoing issue.
With the inclusion of colonialism in the reports, world leaders, scientists and policy makers have acknowledged that decolonisation is critical to the mitigation process. This also means that indigenous knowledge should be considered in policies and strategies moving forward.
“We all have a common goal; the same kaupapa – we want to sustain and preserve the environment for our future generations. Mātauranga Māori must contribute to guiding and steering the formation and implementation of our policies in Aotearoa,” says Coutts.
“These changes will take everyone working together.”