IPCC releases climate guide for governments 

Loss and Damage campaigners hold a vigil at COP26 to bring attention to the need for just financing. Photo: Albin Hillert/LWF

By Mattias Soderberg

On Monday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched its report on how to mitigate climate change. This report must be followed by urgent action. All parties should deliver on their promise from the climate summit in Glasgow last year and revisit their national climate plans.  

The IPCC report is a rather heavy compilation of recent science, and mitigation possibilities are assessed from a number of perspectives. One important lesson is that it is not enough to focus on one solution. Emissions must be reduced rapidly in the coming years, and all options should therefore be considered.  

That means efforts to switch to renewable energy, to promote nature-based solutions, to make our buildings climate friendly, to make our transport sustainable and to ensure that our production and consumption in the future is green and sustainable.  

IPCC reports are special because they are formally acknowledged by governments. That means that governments have read these reports, and we should expect that they also consider the recommendations.  

Last year, at the climate summit COP26, parties acknowledged that the current global level of climate ambition is not high enough. The 1.5-degree target is the maximum increase in global temperature the world should experience. To meet this target, more mitigation efforts are needed. At COP26 parties therefore agreed to return home and revisit their national climate plans. Every possibility to scale up the ambition should be considered.  

I know mitigation can be difficult to handle. Priorities must be made, and funds must be allocated. Should there be a focus on transport? Or agriculture? The energy sector? Or nature-based solutions? Most governments have limited budgets, and thus it is important to make a wise plan, one which is possible to implement, and which will deliver the biggest cuts in emissions.  

And this is where the new report from IPCC is handy. Governments should read it and use it as a guide when they live up to their promises from Glasgow to revisit their national climate plans.  

The IPCC report also adds a geographic perspective. Emissions, as well as the potential for mitigation, differ between countries. Consumption is, for example, a big challenge in most developed countries, where an unsustainable consumption culture generates emissions that are felt around the world.  
The responsibility, both current and historic, for emissions is therefore easy to identify. At the same time, we know that some of the most vulnerable countries have the smallest emissions, and thus the smallest responsibility.  

To find and mobilise, the necessary funding for all these mitigation activities is not easy. Especially not for the most vulnerable countries. This is why the report should be followed by a bill, and an agreement on how to share payments. Rich countries, with a big historic responsibility, should deliver on their promise to mobilise climate finance. This will help developing countries with both adaptation and mitigation. Without money there will be no action. Climate finance makes it possible for developing countries to deal with the drastic effects a changing climate has on their most vulnerable communities, notably women and girls in rural communities. 

Mattias Soderberg is the co-chair of ACT Alliance Climate Justice Reference Group.