Greenhouse gas emissions must peak within a few years and countries must implement deep across-the-board cuts to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid catastrophic impact from climate change, according to scientists. This means global emissions must peak before 2025 “at the latest”, reduce by 43 per cent by the end of the decade and reach net zero by the early 2050s, they said in the latest report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released on Monday. Even if a less ambitious 2 degrees of warming is to be achieved, reaching a peak in emissions by 2025, reducing them by a quarter by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2070 will be necessary, the scientists said. Human activities have already caused the planet’s average temperature to rise by 1.1 degrees since 1850. Chinese manufacturers lack plan on carbon emissions without firm targets “It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees,” IPCC Working Group III co-chair Jim Skea said in a statement. “Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.” Average annual global greenhouse gas emissions have reached their highest levels between 2010 to 2019, even though the rate of growth has slowed. Climate change impacts, including more frequent heatwaves, droughts, higher sea levels, and floods from extreme rainstorms and more devastating tropical storms, will worsen in coming decades, the IPCC warned. “We need to get on with this now … if there is no advance in the kind of pledges that countries are making before we get to COP27 [global climate talks] in Egypt at the end of this year, we may well have to conclude that indeed 1.5 degrees has gone,” Skea told reporters. However, there is increasing evidence that immediate and efficient climate actions can help mitigate global warming, the scientists said in the report by 278 authors from 65 nations. The use of solar and wind energy and batteries has surged since 2010, thanks to technology that reduced installation costs by up to 85 per cent, the IPCC noted. Policies and laws have also induced energy efficiency improvements, and stemmed the rate of deforestation that is key to maintaining nature’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide. “We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future,” said IPCC chair Hoesung Lee. “We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming.” The IPCC called for an acceleration of policies that help cut fossil fuel use, encourage adoption of cleaner energy, improve energy efficiency and promote reuse and recycling. It also called for adoption of agriculture, forestry and other land use practices that enable large-scale emission reductions and carbon dioxide storage. The IPCC report was approved on Monday by 195 countries. It is the third part of the IPCC’s sixth assessment cycle, and follows reports that examined the physical science underpinning past and future climate change, its impact and ways of adapting to it. Global economic output would only be a few percentage points lower in 2050 if sufficient actions are taken to limit global warming to two degrees, compared to maintaining current policies, said working group III co-chair Priyadarshi Shukla. That is because investing in decarbonisation projects would create jobs and bring new business opportunities. “Given the clear economic benefits relative to costs over the longer term, investors must deploy the right technologies in the right areas at the right time – and the right time is now,” said Wai-Shin Chan, global head of ESG research for HSBC. China’s funding for coal projects under way disappointing: climate experts However, as it stands, financial investments toward such actions are three to six times lower than what is needed by 2030 to keep warming at 2 degrees, the IPCC noted. The concern was shared by industry body Global Wind Energy Council. At the current annual growth trajectory of 6.6 per cent, by 2030 the world will have less than two-thirds the wind power capacity required to contain global warming at 1.5 degrees, the council estimated in its latest annual global wind report published on Monday. “We need to scale up annual wind energy installations by four times in this decade to get on track for a 1.5 degrees Celsius world,” said Joyce Lee, the body’s head of policy and projects.