A devastating new UN report warning of certain devastation caused by climate change has been dubbed humanity’s “last wake-up call” by environmental experts.
Speaking to CNBC on Tuesday, environmentalists outlined the role businesses, countries and individuals can play in containing the crisis. They also shared their hopes for the party’s 26th UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, in November.
The United Nations IPCC climate panel released a highly anticipated report on Monday warning that efforts to limit global warming to nearly 1.5 degrees Celsius, or even 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, are in will be “inaccessible” for the next two decades without an immediate, rapid and comprehensive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Implement “ambitious action now”
Meeting policymakers’ temperature targets for 2050 will be difficult but achievable, said Emily Kreps, global director of capital markets at CDP, a nonprofit that helps companies manage their climate impact.
However, this requires “ambitious action” from companies, governments and capital markets, she told Squawk Box Asia on Tuesday.
This should be considered our final wake-up call.
Global Director of Capital Markets, CDP
The threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius outlined in the report is a crucial global goal, as it also makes so-called tipping points more likely. Tipping points refer to an irreversible change in the climate system that includes further global warming.
“This should be seen as our last wake-up call,” said Kreps, who encouraged companies to set “concrete and concrete goals”.
Ulka Kelkar, director of climate at the World Resources Institute India, agreed that the pace of change must “accelerate quickly”.
For example, the exit from fossil fuels and the introduction of renewable energies must happen at five times the speed. In the meantime, the development of new, more sustainable technologies needs to move forward, she said.
This is particularly urgent in developing countries like India, which have the ability to circumvent practices that are harmful to the environment.
“Over here we have to start thinking a step forward, we have to skip,” she told Street Signs Asia.
“(That means) more renewable energy to produce (a) large-scale hydrogen that can be used in all of our industries” – from fertilizers and chemicals to steel making, she added.
Expectations for COP26
The report comes as a series of extreme weather events that are wreaking havoc around the world.
In the past few weeks alone, Europe, China and India have been hit by floods. Forest fires have also devastated the United States, Canada, Greece, and Turkey.
The UN report makes it “clear that these events are related to climate change and human impact on the climate,” Mans Nilsson, executive director of the Stockholm Environment Institute, told Squawk Box Europe.
Industrialized countries (must) seal the agreement on a long overdue climate finance package.
Director, World Resources Institute India
World leaders will discuss the issue further when they meet at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.
Kreps said she hoped the conference would produce nationally determined contributions and “science-based goals”.
Meanwhile, Kelkar’s expectations were threefold.
“Developed countries (must) make the deal on a long overdue climate finance package,” said Kelkar, especially to adapt to the extreme events of recent times.
“The second major area is clean technology partnerships: something like green hydrogen, something like the circular economy that uses materials more efficiently. The third is the rules of carbon trading, a market-based tool that enables all of this mitigation. ”,“ She added.
– CNBC’s Sam Meredith contributed to this report.