COP27 Climate Summit: IGSD experts available to comment
Climate emissions are accelerating and the 1.5°C guardrail for keeping the climate relatively safe could be crossed within a decade or less. The risk of accelerating self-reinforcing feedbacks where the Earth starts to warm itself and passing irreversible tipping points with potentially catastrophic impacts increases with every fraction of warming. Six climate tipping points become likely, with another four possible, between 1.5°C and 2°C, according to a recent assessment. At COP27 governments must commit to speed and scale up climate action to avoid the most warming in the shortest period of time and to protect the most vulnerable people and ecosystems. Their action this November will decide the fate of billions of people, for years to come. IGSD experts are available to comment.
In their May 2022 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dreyfus, Zaelke, and co-authors clarify the need for a dual strategy that simultaneously reduces the non-carbon dioxide pollutants, especially the short-lived pollutants like methane, which would enable the world to stay well below the 2°C limit, and significantly improve the chance of remaining below the 1.5°C guardrail.
Durwood Zaelke, with four decades of climate negotiation experience, is the founder and president of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. His focus is on fast mitigation strategies to protect the climate, including reducing the short-lived climate pollutants–methane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), black carbon, and tropospheric ozone. Over the past two decades, Zaelke helped craft climate policies under the Montreal Protocol and is now focused on methane mitigation at the global level. Zaelke is an adjunct professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California, Santa Barbara, where he co-founded the Program on Governance for Sustainable Development.
“We are out of time to continue slow-walking climate solutions. All governments must refocus climate policy on 2030 and make this decade the decade of climate action.”
“At COP27 methane action must be given top priority. Methane is a blow torch that’s cooking the planet today. If we stop methane leaks, we shut off the blow torch and avoid more warming in the next couple of decades than any other strategy—nearly 0.3°C —which can slow the rate of warming almost immediately.”
Dr. Gabrielle Dreyfus is Chief Scientist at the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. She is a climate scientist and policy expert with over a decade of experience working in the U.S. government to advance international climate and clean energy policy. Dr. Dreyfus is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. She is a member of the Climate & Clean Air Coalition’s Scientific Advisory Panel and served on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on the Development of a Framework for Evaluating Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Information for Decision Making. She has previously served as a technical reviewer of the IEA report Curtailing Methane Emissions from Fossil Fuel Operations, the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, and UNEP and the Climate & Clean Air Coalition’s Global Methane Assessment, and led the 2020 UNEP and IEA Cooling Synthesis Report. See the full publication list here.
“The IPCC says we must make deep cuts to GHG immediately. Latest research shows that phasing out fossil fuels is essential but must be paired with targeted action now on methane, black carbon soot, HFCs, and smog. This dual strategy is the only way to slow warming over the next two decades and give ourselves a fighting chance for a livable climate.”
“It is time for governments to commit to climate action at COP27 that meets the speed and scale needed to tackle the climate emergency.”
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