Scientists from the United Nations have proposed a strategy that they believe would help to reduce the core causes of hazardous climate change. A key UN body states in a report that there must be “rapid, deep and immediate” cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. To avoid the worst effects, global CO2 emissions would have to reach a peak within three years. Even then, by mid-century, the planet would require technology to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its advice on what the world can do to avoid a severely disastrous future, following a tense approval process in which scientists and government officials went over the report line by line.

First, the bad news: even if all of the carbon-cutting plans put in place by nations by the end of 2020 were completely implemented, the planet would still warm by 3.2 degrees Celsius this century. The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has expressed his displeasure with this discovery. “Some government and business leaders are saying one thing – but doing another. Simply put, they are lying. And the results will be catastrophic.” With such a spike in temperature, our globe will experience “unprecedented heatwaves, terrifying storms, and widespread water shortages”. According to analysts, the globe must restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or less this century to escape this catastrophe. The good news is that this newest IPCC review demonstrates that it can be done in a “viable and financially sound manner,” as Mr. Guterres puts it.