Climate panel calls for “rapid and deep” transition away from fossil fuels.

By Lina Tran & Joseph Winters, Grist

Nations have moved too slowly to curb climate change, and now must take swift and aggressive steps if they hope to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, the world’s top scientists warned on Monday. Greenhouse gas emissions must peak within the next three years, and in the next eight, the world must push fossil fuels aside, rapidly scaling up the use of clean energy like wind and solar. It is only through these “rapid and deep” emissions reductions, they said, that the world can get on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and avoid 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming.

new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC — a United Nations body of leading climate experts from around the world — highlights key strategies countries can use to drive down greenhouse gas emissions and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. There is no time to lose, the report authors said. Although emissions are rising more slowly than they have in previous years, humanity has lost precious time to drive down climate pollution, and even with the most ambitious policies, there is now only a 38 percent chance that the world will stave off a 1.5-degree C rise in temperature. This is a significant decrease from 2018, when the panel predicted a 55 percent chance of staying below that threshold.

Bush fires, South of Canberra, threaten suburbs. The smoke from the fires creates a dark cloud over the city.

“We are at a crossroads,” IPCC chair Hoesung Lee, an economist at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea, told reporters. “We have the tools and know-how to limit warming and secure a livable future.”

The new report is the final installment in a three-part assessment from the IPCC. The body’s previous reports detailed both the current and future catastrophic impacts from climate change and warned that time is running out to adapt to them. This week’s report focuses on mitigation — what we can do to halt climate change.

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