The climate crisis is already here and the risks are growing, said Hoesung Lee, chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who led a study by thousands of scientists on ways to avoid 1.5C of warming via accelerated transition from fossil fuels.
“The IPCC made a tremendous collective effort to bring you the best scientific knowledge on the subject. We tell you limiting warming to 1.5C is possible but the window is narrowing,” Lee told a plenary on Tuesday. “The scientific community has delivered, now it is up to governments to take action.”
In a thinly veiled criticism of such tactics, Laurent Fabius, a former prime minister of France and president of the 2015 Paris climate talks, told the plenary that political leaders would play a negative role if they were “not only somnambulists but spoilers”.
He noted that global emissions rose by 2% this year, when they need to decline if warming is to be kept to a less dangerous level.
“Let us be clear, the real world is not on track. We need to do more and to do it faster,” Fabius said. “The IPCC 1.5C report shows the tremendous importance of every half degree and the disastrous consequences of missing that boundary.”