12 years to avoid climate catastrophe

From ending the use of coal to eating less meat, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) landmark report warns that “rapid and unprecedented changes” are needed to avoid uncontrollable global warming by 2030. Here, some of the world’s leading environmental NGOs give their reaction and highlight the key steps humanity must take to prevent climate catastrophe.

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WWF: “We cannot throw in the towel on 1.5°C”
“It is clear that the impacts we thought we’d see at 2°C will now appear at much lower temperature levels,” senior vice president for climate change and energy, Lou Leonard, says. “In many ways, 1.5°C is the new 2°C, and that’s a big deal. The report shows that it’s possible to meet this goal relying mostly on proven technologies like dramatically scaling up renewable energy use, halting deforestation and investing in low-carbon transportation – our goalpost is zero net emissions by 2050.”

Ceres: “An unparalleled investment opportunity”
“We must use the findings to build on the tremendous momentum and leadership demonstrated by influential investors and companies who are scaling efforts to transition to a low-carbon economy,” said vice president Sue Reid. “The dire climate threat faced by the world is also the greatest economic opportunity the world has ever seen. Meeting the challenge will bring tens of trillions of dollars of investment opportunity, the potential to avoid far greater economic losses tied to climate impacts, and unparalleled opportunities to transition to a more just, equitable and resilient low-carbon economy.”

Sierra Club: “The people must fight the corporate polluters”
“We are not waiting around for Donald Trump,” says executive director Michael Brune. “Visionary leaders and millions of people are organising to ensure coal plants are retiring, dangerous pipelines are stopped, electric vehicles are deployed and the build-out of dirty gas infrastructure is halted. Alliances and partnerships are being built among grassroots activists, frontline communities, elected officials and concerned people to build an economy powered by 100% clean energy that leaves nobody behind.”

350.org: “Keep fossil fuels in the ground”
The science speaks for itself – it is now only a matter of political will,” says programme director Payal Parekh. “Burying our heads in the sand cannot be contemplated as an option any longer. The climate crisis is here and already impacting the most vulnerable and the least responsible for creating it. The only way to achieve it is to stop all fossil fuel extraction and redirect the massive resources currently spent on the fossil fuel economy towards the renewable energy transition.”

Greenpeace: “IPCC plan must be our top priority”
“Will we get there in time? Nobody knows – we’re heading into uncharted territory,” says Nordic senior policy advisor Kaisa Kosonen. “What matters is that we make it our absolute priority. Only then do we have a chance to protect ourselves from the devastating impacts that science says would start accelerating after 1.5°C. Those who say it’s unrealistic are telling us to give up on people, species and planet. We will not accept this. We do not give up on human ingenuity, courage or hope against political apathy and corporate greed – we are determined to succeed.” 

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