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'Heroes of Net Zero' Follow Us

Slowdown in reaching net zero will worsen climate crisis

Net zero slow down header image

Postponing action and taking a slower route to net zero emissions by 2050 will worsen the climate crisis even if the goal is achieved by that date.

That’s the warning from Professor Jim Skea, the new Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The IPCC is the world’s foremost authority on climate change, under which thousands of the world’s best experts give advice to the 195 nations that founded the body. Its scientists have warned of “a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all”.

Professor Skea said that what determined global warming was not the timing of net zero, but the pathway by which it is achieved.

“It is the cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide over time that are the main factor,” he said. “The longer you put off action, the greater will be the cumulative CO2 emissions that have gone into the atmosphere, and therefore the higher the level of warming.”

Professor Skea emphasised both “urgency and agency” in terms of climate action. “Every fraction of a degree matters. We are in dire circumstances. But we can do something about it if we choose to.”


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