Responding to the findings of Working Group III of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, Professor Corinne Le Quéré FRS, Royal Society Research Professor of Climate Change Science at the University of East Anglia, said:
"The IPCC’s declaration that, without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is beyond reach, must be taken extremely seriously. Every fraction of a degree of extra warming increases the risk of devastating climate change and severe weather events that have been set out by the IPCC and others.
"Delivering the Paris Agreement commitment to keep warming as far below 2°C as possible, means fighting for every avoided increment in temperature - so this report must galvanise action. There are real reasons for optimism highlighted in the report. While greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise globally in all sectors before the pandemic, the rate of growth has slowed - and in at least 18 countries, including the UK, emissions have been falling for more than a decade. The continued fall in costs and increasing efficiency and deployment of technologies like wind, solar and batteries, show that climate policies are working in guiding investment choices.
"To deliver 'net zero' we now have to accelerate electrification and the roll out of proven technologies, and provide greater research focus on areas that need scaling up and further development. The Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of sciences, has identified a number of research areas which will be critical to progressing towards net zero beyond 2030, many of which are also a focus for IPCC Working Group III. This includes investment in land management approaches, including reforestation, peatland restoration and other nature-based solutions to capture carbon dioxide and prevent further releases from degraded environments - although these must not be used to delay emissions reductions in other sectors. Battery technologies are key to the shift to electrification, and there is substantial potential to further increase energy density and reduce cost while improving sustainability, along with development of alternative fuels – such as green hydrogen and ammonia – and the use of digital technologies to increase efficiencies."
On 11-12 April, the Royal Society is holding a special conference to reflect on the implications, research questions and urgent policy actions for the UK of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report.
Explore more of the Royal Society's key work on climate change.
Royal Society responds to Working Group II of IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report
Royal Society responds to Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change