Skip to content
Northern Powerhouse European Union

Fossil fuels must be phased out by 2100, says UN

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released the synthesis of its latest climate assessment, arguing that “the window of action is closing very rapidly”.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released the synthesis of its latest climate assessment, arguing that “the window of action is closing very rapidly”.

The synthesis report, released on 1 November, draws together and summarises the findings of the IPCC’s fifth assessment report on climate change, released in three parts over the last 13 months.

The full assessment report involved more than 800 experts and the review of over 30,000 peer-reviewed papers, with UK energy and climate change secretary, Ed Davey, calling it “the most comprehensive, thorough and robust assessment of climate change ever produced.”

The synthesis report is the final IPCC document to be released before nations negotiate pledges to reduce emissions at the UN climate conference in Paris next year. 

Findings

The synthesis report highlights that without additional mitigation efforts beyond those in place today, warming of the climate system by the end of the 21st century will lead to a ‘high to very high’ risk of severe and irreversible global impacts. 

To avoid this outcome, substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions of between 40 and 70 per cent on current levels will be required by 2050, increasing to 100 per cent by 2100.  

Business

During an interview with BusinessGreen on 3 November, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, emphasised that the report was “a very valuable guidance document for businesses”.

“If businesses just focus on the next quarter and the profits they can generate in the next quarter, clearly they would take only very myopic decisions,” he said.

“But on the other hand, if they are looking at future opportunities, future risks, then they would take this report into account, and if you look at the history of business, clearly the ones who have a somewhat longer-term time horizon are the ones that always succeed.”

‘Long-term strategy’

The report was welcomed by a host of leading businesses, including Coca Cola Enterprises (CCE). 

Hubert Patricot, executive vice president and European group president at CCE, said: “Climate change has significant impacts on our core business, and is something we are already factoring into our long-term strategy.

“This report highlights the reality of climate change to all businesses. Government and business need to work together to mobilise a concerted and coordinated response to address the most significant environmental issue of our time.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published a guidance tool to accompany the report, which can be found here