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Climate report says we have tools to cap warming — but not the political will

Published: Saturday, April 9, 2022 - 8:01am
Updated: Monday, April 11, 2022 - 9:51am
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An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released Monday says we have the knowledge, technology and affordable clean energy needed to meet emissions targets, but a lack of political will and funding undermine progress — and sap hope for avoiding calamity.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Working Group III report, which focused on past climate commitments, a "litany of broken climate promises."

"The climate crisis does not scare us — or most of us — in the same way that a foreign invasion, terrorism or a medical pandemic do," said Elke Weber of Princeton University, who led the chapter on social barriers to mitigation.

The paper says renewable energy is now cost-competitive with fossil fuels and, occasionally, even cheaper. 

But funding remains only one-quarter to one-sixth the amount needed to drive rapid, cross-sector changes and hold global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.

Greenhouse emissions — especially methane — need to be cut an additional 40%.

"Barriers to climate action in wealthy countries like the U.S. also have to do with our reluctance to trade in our unsustainable lifestyles for some other ways of living that are much less well known and will require some adjustments or sacrifices compared to our current ways of living," said Weber.

Science Sustainability