However, this implies a rapid and drastic reduction in carbon pollution and the use of fossil fuels – by almost two-thirds by 2035, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations was even more direct – calling for an end to new fossil fuel exploitation, and urging rich countries to stop using coal, oil and gas by 2040.
“Humanity is on thin ice – and that ice is melting fast,” said Antonio Guterres. “The world needs climate action on all fronts – everything, everywhere, at the same time.”
Amplifying his calls for action on fossil fuels, Guterres called not only for “an end to new coal production” but also for the elimination of its use in rich countries by 2030, and in rich countries by 2040.
The head of the world organization stated that in developing countries by 2035, electricity production without the use of carbon should be developed, which also means the abolition of gas power plants.
World governments on Sunday gave the go-ahead for the release of a major new UN report on climate change, after adoption of the report was stalled by a fight between rich and developing nations over emissions targets and financial aid to vulnerable nations.
The report by several hundred of the world’s leading scientists was to be approved by government delegations on Friday, at the end of a week-long meeting in the Swiss city of Interlaken.
The final deal was pushed back several times as officials from major countries such as China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, the United States and the European Union “wrangled” over key phrases in the text over the weekend.
The report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the completion of a series in which the vast amount of research data collected since the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 was processed.
A summary of the report was approved early Sunday, but agreement on the main text dragged on for several hours, and some observers feared it might have to be delayed.
The UN plans to release the report at a press conference on Monday.
The unusual process in which countries adopt a scientific report aims to ensure that governments accept the world body’s findings as authoritative advice on which to base their actions.
At the start of the meeting, Guterres called on delegates to present “clear, hard facts” to send the message that there is little time left for the world to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.
While average global temperatures have already risen by 1.1 degrees Celsius since the 19th century, Guterres insists the 1.5 degree target remains possible “with rapid and deep reductions in emissions across all sectors of the global economy”.
Observers say the IPCC meetings have become increasingly politicized as the stakes for curbing global warming rise, which is maintained by the situation at the UN’s annual climate talks, which are usually held at the end of the year.
Among the most pressing issues at the current meeting was how to define which countries are considered vulnerable in development so they could receive cash from the “loss and damage” fund agreed at the last UN climate talks in Egypt.
The delegates also debated about the figures defining how much emissions of harmful gases should be reduced in the coming years, and how to include in the strategy attempts for natural or artificial removal of carbon.
As the country that has released the largest amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since industrialization, the United States strongly opposes the idea of historical responsibility for climate change.