A report that (hopefully) lights a firecracker under our collective butts

Three critical graphics from this week’s IPCC Report

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, comprised of hundreds of climate scientists from 195 countries, this week issued its latest report on climate change and what it will take to stop it.  It’s a heavy read (shorter version here), but here are three key graphics to study and ponder.

“…depends on choices now and in the near-term”.  In other words, the climate that children born today will experience will depend very much on choices we make today.  We can decide to continue doing what we’re doing – the ‘very high’ emissions scenario above, which will take us to four degrees of warming by 2100 – or we can choose to reduce our emissions and limit warming to about 1.5 degrees.  (Sorry, it’s too late to aim for any better than that.)

The red line above represents where we’re headed based on current emission reduction commitments made by governments around the world.  The green and blue lines represent the emissions paths needed to hold warming to 2 and 1.5 degrees respectively.  As you can see, there’s quite a gap between where we’re headed and where we need to go, so we have work to do.
This last graphic (slightly cropped but you can see the original here) shows all the different technologies that will help us achieve net zero emissions, from those that will actually save money (indicated in blue) to those that are most expensive (in burgundy).  It’s worth noting that the least expensive options are wind, solar and efficiency; the most expensive are carbon capture and storage and BECCS (bioenergy with carbon capture and storage).

The bottom line: hopefully the above graphics and the rest of the IPCC’s report will help motivate humanity to reduce emissions quickly and efficiently, so that children born today won’t be living in a very different and difficult world.

In the news:

Why not start reducing emissions from your power consumption by taking part in Earth Hour, this Saturday at 8:30 PM local time?

Argentina, one of the world’s most important food producers, is suffering through an unprecedented ‘endless, brutal heatwave’.

Even further south, Antarctic sea ice reaches the lowest levels ever recorded.


“I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.  I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.”

        – Jack London, in Jack London’s Tales of Adventure

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