At EERA we acknowkedge the global nature of the climate challenge. For this reason, this section aims to provide an overview of the latest and more relevant reports providing a thorough view on the most serious threat facing our planet today. 

The third part of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6)Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change, the Working Group III contribution, provides an updated global assessment of climate change mitigation progress and pledges and examines the sources of global emissions based on the literature published after 2015 when the previous IPCC AR5 report was released. It also discusses what humans can do to mitigate climate change.

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Monday 28 February 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the second report of the Sixth Assessment on Climate Change evaluating the impacts of climate change, looking at ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities at global and regional levels. It also reviews vulnerabilities and the capacities and limits of the natural world and human societies to adapt to climate change.

The AR6 is the work of 270 authorities, from 67 countries, reviewing 34,000 scientific papers. The report contributes significantly to a growing scientific knowledge on the risks, impact, best solutions and limits to adaptation. In total, 127 key risks have been identified to have an impact on a wide range of sectors, native species and people's well-being.

The report is divided into three parts meant to inform and advise policymakers on sustainable pathways and limits to adaptation:

  • Observed and Projected Impacts and Risks
  • Adaptation Measures and Enabling Conditions
  • Climate Resilient Developments

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  • Over 50 countries (plus the entire European Union) have pledged to meet ​net zero emissions targets. ​
  • If correctly implemented, the modelled Announced Pledges Scenario ​(APS) predicts the global emissions curve to bend downwards
  • Successful pledges will also mean a fall by 40% of CO2 emissions over the period to 2050. Electricity sector: the largest reduction​
  • Issue: today’s pledges cover less than 20% of the gap in emissions reductions that needs to be closed by 2030 to keep a 1.5 °C path within reach​
  • Four main pathways:​

    1. additional push for clean electrification
    2. focus on energy efficiency​
    3. cut methane emissions from fossil fuel operations
    4. boost to clean energy innovation

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On 9 August 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Working Group I (WG1) contribution to its Sixth Assessment Report, titled “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis”.

Providing the most up-to-date knowledge addressing issues related to climate change, as well as a scientific basis to inform climate policies across the world, the report shows how human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2 million years.

On this basis, the report warns that global warming will hit 1.5°C by 2040, even in a best-case scenario of deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. In Europe, scientists expect temperatures to rise even faster than the global average, with extreme weather events such as heatwaves, floods and droughts likely to increase in frequency and intensity. 

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The report it is the world’s first comprehensive energy roadmap to net-zero by 2050. It sets out a cost-effective pathway resulting in a clean, dynamic and resilient energy economy dominated by renewables (primarily solar and wind) instead of fossil fuels.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), most of the global reductions in CO2 emissions between now and 2030 in the net zero pathway come from technologies readily available today. Albeit the report recommends ending investments in fossil fuels as soon as possible, it also states that the road to reach net zero is very narrow given the complexity of the international energy setup.

Among the specific milestones to pursue, it puts forward:

  1. Starting from today: no investment in new coal, oil and gas supply projects;
  2. Starting from today: no further final investment decisions for new unabated coal plants;
  3. By 2035: no sales of new internal combustion engine passenger cars. In total, the report sets out more than 400 milestones to achieving net zero and is intended to guide the next round of global climate talks at COP26 in November in Scotland.

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The 2021 Production Gap report produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and leading research organisations found that world governments’ planned fossil fuel production is well beyond the threshold set to limiting global warming below 1.5°C.

The report, first published in 2019, measures the gap between governments’ planned production of fossil fuels and the global production levels consistent with meeting the Paris Agreement temperature limits. The analysis of current strategies and plans shows that the 15 major fossil fuels producing countries are expected to roughly produce 240% more coal, 57% more oil, and 71% more gas in 2030 than would be consistent with keeping global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Moreover, the report claims that since the start of the pandemic, G20 economies have funneled more than 300 billion USD towards fossil fuel activities – more than they have towards clean energy. International public finance for the production of fossil fuels has significantly decreased, but developments must be matched by concrete and ambitious fossil fuel exclusion policies, and more transparency is necessary to addressing the production gap.

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IRENA published a full report providing a detailed analysis of the world energy transition solutions. The analysis shows that over 90% of solutions shaping a successful outcome in 2050 involve renewable energy through direct supply, electrification, energy efficiency, green hydrogen and bioenergy combined with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).  

Among the key findings are:

  1. Proven technologies for a net-zero energy system already largely exist today. Renewable power, green hydrogen and modern bioenergy will dominate the world of energy of the future.
  2. In anticipation of the coming energy transition, financial markets and investors are already directing capital away from fossil fuels and towards other energy technologies including renewables.
  3. National social and economic policies will play fundamental roles in delivering the energy transition at the speed required to restrict global warming to 1.5°C. 

Read the report here

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The Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA) consortium has published its report "A systemic approach to the energy transition in Europe", a document proposing a set of policy solutions to address the challenge of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Six main themes are addressed in the report: technological diversity, managing deep complexity, governance and regulation, behaviour and participation, global leadership and supply chain security. Policy recommendations are developed and articulated from these areas, ranging from suggestions on market pricing to investments in research infrastructure.

The report was released together with the Scientific Opinion of the European Commission's Group of Chief Scientific Advisors on the same topic.  

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There is growing awareness of how climate change and CET agenda connect to the ecosystem impact, especially in relation to biodiversity loss and deforestation. 

In December 2020, 50 of the world’s leading biodiversity and climate experts, selected by a 12-person Scientific Steering Committee assembled by IPBES and IPCC, participated in a four-day virtual workshop to examine the synergies and trade-offs between biodiversity protection and climate change mitigation and adaptation. This represents the first-ever collaboration between the two intergovernmental science-policy bodies.

The IPBES-IPCC co-sponsored workshop report on biodiversity and climate change was launched on 10 June 2021. Access the workshop report below. 

Participants also produced an associated Scientific Outcome, consisting of seven scientific sections, a list of about 1,500 literature references, a glossary and appendices, which is available here.

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REN21, a Paris-based international policy network dedicated to renewables, has recently published a report providing a comprehensive overview of the state of renewable energy in 2021.

While showing continued progress in the power sector, the document highlights that the share of renewables in heating and cooling has barely changed from past levels, demonstrating that we are nowhere near the necessary paradigm shift towards a clean, healthier, and more equitable energy future.

According to the report, governments need to act more aggressively and press forward with renewables in all sectors.  

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