The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, released on 9 August, provides new estimates of the chances of crossing the global warming level of 1.5°C in the next decades, and finds that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach.
The report underlines the urgent need for action that the Club of Rome and its partners have stressed through the Planetary Emergency Partnership since 2019. “We cannot afford to wait until 2050 to take action,” says Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of the Club of Rome, “Governments need to declare a Planetary Emergency today and adopt targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030.”
‘Emergence from emergency’ is possible only if governments worldwide adopt credible emergency plans. The Planetary Emergency Plan – first published in 2019 – provides 10 commitments to save our global commons and 10 urgent actions for transformation. This includes stopping all new investments in coal, oil and gas now, ending perverse fossil fuel and agricultural subsidies by 2025, as well as tripling annual investments and doubling our wind and solar capacity every four years. Further recommendations for policy implementation can be found in the call to G7 Heads of State and Governments to stop crowd-funding catastrophe.
“For thirty years we have known about the risks of dangerous climate change. But done literally nothing.” Says Anders Wijkman, Honorary President of the Club of Rome and chairman of the Governing Board of Climate-KIC. “Now it may be too late to transform the system in an orderly fashion. But we have to try. The wasteful way we use resources is key and the best we can do is to lower taxes on labor and increase taxes on the use of nature, including carbon emissions.”
In addition to drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, we should invest in solutions that remove carbon from the atmosphere and restore our ocean and land carbon sinks.
“The earth’s soils have the capacity to soak up all of the excess carbon. Regenerative agriculture, and especially holistic grazing, also dramatically increases water-holding capacity, which is essential in a hotter, drier world.” Says Hunter Lovins, President of Natural Capitalism Solutions and Member of the Club of Rome. “Once farmers make the transition, they are more profitable than the industrial approaches that now emit carbon and methane. By empowering small-holder farmers — who already produce 80% of the world’s food — to make the transition to regenerative agriculture will not only end hunger but coupled with renewable energy will also solve the climate crisis.”
To emerge from emergency into a regenerative economy that leaves no-one behind and operates within the planetary boundaries, we need to set nature on the path to recovery and prioritise sustainable production, consumption and investments as outlined in our Planetary Emergency Plan.
COP26 in Glasgow this year provides an opportunity to accelerate transformation and clearly signal that climate change, biodiversity loss and health crises are interlinked and require integrated solutions and a systemic approach. Bringing back balance between people, planet and prosperity requires net-zero carbon, zero loss of nature, zero pandemics and zero poverty. Only then can we truly emerge from this emergency.
THE CLUB OF ROME 2021 | Philippa Baumgartner