Greenhouse emissions must peak by 2025: Leaked report
The emission of greenhouse gases across the world must peak before 2025, and fossil fuel power plants must close over the next decade, a leaked draft of a key climate report set to be released next year has said, according to news websites that reviewed the document.
The draft is of the third part of the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading authority on environment science. According to The Guardian, a small group of scientists decided to leak the draft because they feared it would be watered down by governments, who have the right to make changes to the “summary for policymakers”.
It would be necessary for CO2 emissions to reach their maximum before 2025, and to reach net zero between 2050 and 2075. No new coal or gas plants should be built, and the current ones should reduce their useful life (typically more than 30 years), to around 10 years, said the draft, according to Spanish online magazine CTXT, which first reported it.
IPCC includes the world’s foremost scientists and government representatives. It is working on what is called the sixth assessment report, the first part of which addressed the “physical science of climate change”, and was released on August 9. The next will look at the impacts, and the last, expected after March 2022, at ways of reducing human influence on climate change.
According to The Guardian, the draft identifies “rich people, in every country”, as “overwhelmingly more responsible for global heating than the poor, with SUVs and meat-eating singled out for blame”.
The CTXT report, in Spanish, said the fight against energy poverty and climate crisis were not incompatible. “This is so because the big emitters are the richest: the richest 10% emit ten times more than the poorest 10%. That is why increasing the consumption of the poorest to basic subsistence levels would not increase emissions much,” CTXT quoted from the draft.
Based on 14,000 scientific papers studied by 234 experts, the first part of the IPCC report said the world will miss its target of keeping global warming to under 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels, and that this will be exceeded in the next two decades, resulting in a higher frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Attributing the heating almost exclusively to human activity, it also called for immediate action, including a move away from fossil fuels if the world wants to keep global warming to under 2°C.
The leak of the draft of the third part, according to The Guardian, came via the Spanish branch of Scientist Rebellion, an offshoot of the Extinction Rebellion movement. CTXT journalist Juan Bordera told The Guardian that the leak reflected the concern of some of those involved in drawing up the document that their conclusions could be watered down before publication in 2022.
The draft also said that planned future technologies meant to reduce absorb as much carbon as the world generates at that point has not yet been a reality.
According to The Guardian, the report underlined significant lifestyle changes that will be necessary, particularly in rich countries: they will need to refrain from overheating or over-cooling homes, and take more to walking and cycling while cutting down on air travel and using energy-consuming appliances.
Eating patterns in many parts of the rich world will also need to change, it added.
“A shift to diets with a higher share of plant-based protein in regions with excess consumption of calories and animal-source food can lead to substantial reductions in emissions, while also providing health benefits … Plant-based diets can reduce emissions by up to 50% compared to the average emission intensive western diet,” The Guardian report quoted the draft as saying.