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What’s Next: ‘An Alarm Bell to Phase Out Fossil Fuels’

Yesterday’s science report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produced a wave of reaction from climate policy analysts and campaigners around the world.

“This is a stark assessment of the frightening future that awaits us if we fail to act. With the world on the brink of irreversible harm, every fraction of a degree of warming matters to limit the dangers of climate change. It is clear that keeping global warming to 1.5°C is hugely challenging and can only be done if urgent action is taken globally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect and restore nature.” — Dr. Stephen Cornelius, Chief Adviser on Climate Change & Global Lead on the IPCC, WWF

“If this IPCC report doesn’t shock you into action, it should. The report paints a very sobering picture of the unforgiving, unimaginable world we have in store if our addiction to burning fossil fuels and destroying forests continues.” But “while the IPCC’s findings are alarming, they most certainly should not translate to hopelessness or inaction. This report should galvanize every country, company, city, and citizen to fight like hell to avoid every bit of warming we can.” — Helen Mountford, Vice President of Climate and Economics, World Resources Institute

“Governments must interpret the findings of the latest IPCC report as an alarm bell to phase out fossil fuels within this decade. This report must serve as a large nail in the coffin of the fossil fuel industry…Phasing out fossil fuels, massively deploying renewables, investing in energy efficiency, and halting ecosystem destruction are the only obvious political action for a liveable planet.” — Dr Stephan Singer, Senior Adviser, Climate Action Network International

“We’re in the midst of a crisis brought to us largely by the fossil fuel industry and their political allies. The continued dithering to address climate change is no longer about the lack of scientific evidence, but rather directly tied to a lack of political will.” — Dr. Kristina Dahl, Senior Climate Scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists

“While governments crawl towards curbing emissions, inch by inch, the climate crisis is right now claiming entire communities with wildfires, extreme flooding, and drought…We are not going to let this report be shelved by further inaction. Instead, we’ll be taking it with us to the courts. One only needs to look at the recent court victory secured by civil society groups against Shell to realize how powerful IPCC science can be.” — Kaisa Kosonen, Senior Political Advisor, Greenpeace Nordic

“The scientific evidence of climate change and its impact is clear. This summer’s floods have just made it real for China. There is no reason to shy away from urgent action. Stopping the construction of China’s coal-fired power plants will greatly contribute to global climate momentum. Doing so is economically sound and is ultimately in China’s self-interest.” — Li Shuo, Senior Climate Campaigner, Greenpeace East Asia

“Indigenous peoples around the world have felt this environmental crisis but we are resilient because we have strategies. What we need is firm commitments from global leaders to support us so we can continue the fight for our land and lives. The [IPCC] report may paint a bleak picture, but it is vital that we commit to the 1.5°C target under the Paris Agreement, for not just the future of the Amazon, but for all countries and communities.” — Sineia do Vale, Environmental Manager, Indigenous Council of Roraima, Brazil

“The most important climate science update in almost a decade shows there is a path to avoiding climate catastrophe, but only through immediate, deep, and sustained emissions reductions. This may be our final warning,” and “the right choices will be measured in lives, livelihoods, species, and ecosystems saved. Australia, as a major emitter and blessed with unrivalled potential for renewable energy, simply has to step up with a far stronger commitment ahead of COP 26.” — Dr. Simon Bradshaw, Head of Research, Climate Council of Australia

“More frequent and intense heat waves, droughts, fires, floods ,and cyclones are wreaking havoc on lives and ecosystems. Women and young people in the Global South are being hit especially hard by climate extremes and changing weather patterns. The IPCC tells us that limiting average global warming to 1.5°C is going to be difficult—but not impossible. This new report drills home the message that policy-makers need to get serious. We urgently need radical and transformative action to bring emissions down to real zero. Unfortunately, too many ‘net-zero’ climate plans are being used to greenwash pollution and business-as-usual, jeopardizing the goals of the Paris Agreement.”— Teresa Anderson, Climate Policy Coordinator, ActionAid International

“For decades fossil fuel companies have known that the expansion of fossil fuels would eventually cause dramatic climate impacts. Half of all the CO2 emitted since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution was emitted over the last 30 years. The good news is that we can still stop the worst case scenarios from ever materializing, if we kick our fossil fuel addiction now. But let’s be clear. Distant future net-zero pledges are not going to get the job done. No climate plan that doesn’t include phasing out fossil fuels is a real climate plan.” — Agnes Hall, Campaign Director, 350.org