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Solutions to the climate crisis

The third part of the most recent IPCC report, ‘Mitigation of Climate Change’, looks at ways to solve the problem of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and human influence on the climate.

This part of the report, written by the IPCC Working Group III, was released in April 2022. It explores ways to reduce emissions and remove CO2 from the atmosphere across different sectors of human activity such as energy, transport, buildings, industry, waste management, agriculture and forestry. It takes both a short- and long-term perspective, looking into technical feasibility, costs, tradeoffs and other important considerations. We looked at how we can reduce emissions here in our explainer on the task we are facing.

The report presents a vision of a safer and liveable future, but also makes it very clear we are still off track, with many barriers to change.  

What was new in this report?

The IPCC reports summarise the available research on the topic of climate change (more on how the process works here). So we can see how the field has changed since the last report (AR5) that came out in 2014, and identify new developments. For instance, according to Zero Carbon Analytics, for the first time in IPCC history, this report featured chapters dedicated to technology, innovation and demand-side measures. You can read the full briefing on the Zero Carbon Analytics website.

This report looked at many different scenarios and options for our collective future and found that one scenario (called SSP1-1.9) in particular enables fast and fair emissions reductions, and the greatest chance of a liveable future for as much of the planet as possible. The vast bulk of the effort lies in a rapid transition to renewables to electrify a large amount of societal infrastructure (for example our homes, cities, transport), and that starts with a green electrical grid. This means there is no more room for new fossil fuels – indeed the report finds that existing fossil fuel infrastructure alone will take us past the ambitious end of the Paris target goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C. 

IPCC Explainer: Stopping Climate Change by John Lang/eciu