Clean Air Asia statement on the IPCC Global Warming of 1.5°C report

This report adds impetus to our efforts, and highlights the pressing need for the region to accelerate the pace of change as part of a cohesive shift to more sustainable future development


The release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “Global Warming of 1.5°C” special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways makes for sobering reading and should serve as a wake-up call for all on the urgent need to act swiftly and decisively on decarbonizing our economies. The report demonstrates that we will reach the 1.5°C temperature rise threshold stipulated in the Paris Agreement between 2030 and 2052 if global warming continues to increase at the current rate. Unless we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures will further rise, risking the collapse of terrestrial and marine ecosystems and agricultural food production worldwide, and endangering our ability to sustain life on this planet.

While a rise of 1.5°C will have substantial impacts on our environment and health, those impacts will be greatly magnified should temperatures rise by 2°C and beyond, as we are on course to reach. It is hence imperative that we drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that our net CO2 emissions reach zero by mid-century. To achieve this, fossil fuels, and coal in particular, must be rapidly phased out and replaced with renewable sources of energy.

Although there are many challenges ahead, it is still possible for the world to avoid worst-case climate scenarios. But in order to do this, we must collectively reconceptualize and reconfigure the way we meet our future fuel and energy needs, transform our industrial practices, and sustainably reorient our modes of transportation. A global economic realignment is required; one that supports zero-carbon development and is premised on forward-thinking policies. Such action will sow the seeds of prosperity for future generations, bringing with it better health outcomes, more jobs, and more equitable access to energy and transportation.

The report also makes it clear that we have the technology, we have the resources, and we have the capability to alter the course we are currently on. What we now need is political will and unity of purpose. Clean Air Asia’s years of work with cities and countries throughout Asia gives us confidence that we can meet the challenges we face in the region and ensure that climate change remains at the forefront of public discourse and government policy action. This report adds impetus to our efforts, and highlights the pressing need for the region to accelerate the pace of change as part of a cohesive shift to more sustainable future development. Our survival depends on it.

Bjarne Pedersen

Executive Director, Clean Air Asia