IGSD’s mission is to promote fast climate mitigation to slow near-term warming and self-propagating climate feedbacks, avoid or at least delay catastrophic climate and societal tipping points, and limit global temperatures to 1.5 °C—or at least keep this temperature guardrail in sight and limit overshoot.
IGSD’s research confirms that decarbonization alone is insufficient to slow near-term warming to keep us below 1.5 °C or even the more dangerous 2 °C guardrail and that the fastest and most effective strategy is to combine the marathon to zero out carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from decarbonizing the energy system with the sprint to rapidly cut non-CO2 super climate pollutants and protect carbon sinks. The super climate pollutants include four short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs)—methane (CH4), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), black carbon soot, and tropospheric ozone (O3)—as well as the longer-lived nitrous oxide (N2O).
Combining the fast mitigation sprint with the decarbonization marathon also helps address the ethical issues of intra-generational equity by giving societies urgently needed time to adapt to unavoidable changes and build resilience. The latest science suggests that the window for exceeding the 1.5 °C guardrail could close as soon as the early 2030s, making this the decisive decade for fast action to slow warming.
The fastest way to reduce near-term warming in the next decade or two is to cut SLCPs. Because they only last in the atmosphere from days to 15 years, reducing them will prevent 90 percent of their predicted warming within a decade. Strategies targeting SLCP reductions can avoid four times more warming at 2050 than targeting CO2 alone. Reducing HFCs can avoid nearly 0.1 °C of warming by 2050 and up to 0.5 °C by the end of the century. The initial HFC phasedown schedule in the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol will capture about 90 percent of this. Parallel efforts to enhance the energy efficiency of air conditioners and other cooling appliances during the HFC phasedown can double the climate benefits at 2050. Cutting methane emissions can avoid nearly 0.3 °C by the 2040s, with the potential for significant avoided warming from emerging technologies to remove atmospheric methane faster than the natural cycle.
Combining the fast mitigation sprint with the decarbonization marathon would reduce the rate of global warming by half from 2030 to 2050, slow the rate of warming a decade or two earlier than decarbonization alone, and make it possible for the world to keep the 1.5 °C guardrail in sight and reduce overshoot. It would also reduce the rate of Arctic warming by two-thirds. This would help slow self-amplifying climate feedbacks in the Arctic, and thus avoid or at least delay the cluster of projected tipping points beyond 1.5 °C. Reducing climate risks and staying within the limits to adaptation are critical to building resilience.
IGSD approaches to fast mitigation includes science, technology, law and policy, and climate finance. IGSD works at the global, regional, national, and subnational levels.