The UN is out with a dire new climate change report Monday, and the gist is that we've still got a chance if we get it together, and quickly. "Humanity is on thin ice—and that ice is melting fast," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says, before dropping a little pop culture reference: "Our world needs climate action on all fronts—everything, everywhere, all at once." What Guterres would like to see come out of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, per the AP:
- No new coal: Eliminate its use in rich countries by 2030, and poor countries by 2040.
- No new fossil fuel exploration: Plus, eliminate all coal, oil, and gas in rich countries by 2040.
- And by 2035: 100% carbon-free electricity generation.
- A warning: "Without urgent, effective, and equitable mitigation and adaptation actions, climate change increasingly threatens ecosystems, biodiversity, and the livelihoods, health, and well-being of current and future generations," the report notes, per USA Today.
- Is it too late? "We are not on the right track, but it's not too late," said report co-author Aditi Mukherji, per the AP. "Our intention is really a message of hope, and not that of doomsday."
- What's the tipping point? Basically, limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since preindustrial days; we already stand at 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit). After 1.5 degrees, "the risks are starting to pile on," report co-author Francis X. Johnson says. "The window is closing if emissions are not reduced as quickly as possible. Scientists are rather alarmed."
- So why even try? "If we aim for 1.5C and achieve 1.6C, that is still much, much better than saying it's too late and we are doomed and I'm not even trying," Dr. Friederike Otto, another co-author, tells the BBC. "And I think what this report shows very, very clearly is there is so much to win by trying."
- One company that made it work: The AP profiles Orsted, which was formerly Danish Oil and Natural Gas, and, as one might guess, very fossil fuel-dependent. It rebranded in 2008 and began building wind farms; today, it's a huge developer in Europe and Asia. CEO Mads Nipper says his company is like the "Tesla of offshore wind"—it didn't invent the product, but it believed it was scalable when few did.
(Read more Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change