UN scientists have developed an approach that they hope will aid in reducing the root causes of global warming and climate change. In a report, a top UN committee states that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must be decreased rapidly, deeply, and immediately. Global CO2 emissions would have to reach a peak within three years to avert the harshest effects. Even back then, the world would require technology to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere by the mid-century. Following a tense approval process in which scientists and government officials looked over the report line by line, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its advice on what the world can do to avoid a dark future.

First, the bad news: even if all of the countries’ carbon-cutting measures were fully implemented by the end of 2020, the world would still warm by 3.2 degrees Celsius this century. Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, has expressed his unhappiness with the discovery. Our planet would experience enormous heatwaves, terrifying storms, and widespread water shortages as a result of such a rise in temperature. Analysts estimate that the world must limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or less this century to avoid disaster.