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Climate change: without international collaboration, we won’t reach net zero by 2050, say world academies

24 September 2021

Ahead of the pre-COP that will be held in Milan on 30 September – 2 October 2021, the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) lays out the need for all countries to anticipate the critical risks associated with climate change, to recognise the transitions that this requires, and to carefully design, plan and accelerate implementation of actions to reach net zero by 2050 or earlier.

In the new communiqué ‘A Net Zero Climate-Resilient Future: Science, technology and the solutions for change’ the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) urges all countries to deploy the many technological, natural and behavioural solutions that are available to them now and to strengthen and support research and innovation to urgently address the outstanding challenges. 

“We know that climate change is a real and rapidly increasing danger to people and the planet. News bulletins from around the world show us on a daily basis that the world is already experiencing the impacts of a dangerous rise in global temperatures, with significant effects on ecosystems, socio-economic systems, and human welfare,” says Depei Liu, IAP co-President and member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

“Scientists agree that we must act now and continue to act into the future to deliver net zero emissions if we are to avoid further dangerous warming. This is the time for all countries to commit to urgent measures of mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change. The cost of inaction will greatly outweigh the cost of action: this is a key political aspect that must be at the heart of COP negotiations,” adds Sir Richard Catlow, IAP co-President and member of the UK Royal Society. 

How to get to net zero emissions

To get to net zero emission, highlights the IAP communiqué, all nations must work in partnership and urgently deploy disruptive low-carbon technologies in infrastructural development and in industrial production, and influence and incentivise institutional decisions as well as personal lifestyle choices to achieve national deployment goals.

“Science is a global endeavour and the last year in particular, with the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has demonstrated the power of global science,” highlights the new IAP document, stressing the fact that “all nations working together can accelerate the pace of decarbonisation to ensure we have a planet fit for future generations.”

IAP urges that all Governments:

  1. Bring together scientists, economists, social and behavioural scientists, and other experts to develop an evidence-based technology roadmap to net zero that is informed and continuously updated. The roadmap should recommend the technologies to deploy, develop and research. ‘The roadmap should include a diversity of approaches needed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, relative to pre-industrial levels.
  2. Accelerate the pace of change by increasing public and private sector investment in the key research and development challenges on the road to net zero and effective adaptation. This should be done both nationally and internationally via multilateral collaborations.
  3. Work together to support developing countries on the road to a climate-resilient, net zero future, ensuring fairness and justice in the transition and co-benefits with other sustainability goals.
  4. Work together to advance suitable policy packages to provide both economic and behavioural incentives for carbon-neutral options, including redistributing subsidies from CO2 emitting practices to practices that will reduce CO2 emissions.
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