The Accelerate briefing is our weekly round-up of news that shows we can tackle climate change.
This week saw the publication of a major study which shows it will still be possible to limit global warming to 1.5C if we act quickly to reduce our carbon emissions.
Before this landmark study, many thought the goal of limiting global average temperature rises to just 1.5C was impossible, as it would require global emissions to fall to zero almost immediately.
But the data produced by the climate models informing this study shows that if strong action is taken now to reduce emissions, keeping warming to 1.5C is still possible.
The models predict that to have a 66% chance of meeting the 1.5C target, we have to emit no more than 240 billion tonnes of carbon. That means if we keep emitting at our current rate, we have 20 years until emissions have to fall to zero. The clock is ticking, and the global population is increasing & the developing world is enriching itself, which means more cars, houses and plane flights. So, this study does not mean we get to give ourselves a pat on the back and relax. It means if we act now to achieve big emissions cuts, we can limit global warming successfully.
The energy we use in our homes and businesses contributes a large chunk of our total emissions. To achieve the kind of emissions cuts we need to keep climate change within acceptable limits, we must transition to a carbon-free energy supply
This week we had some good news on that front. The cost of renewables is plunging far faster than forecasters expected, and will soon be cheaper than fossil fuels in many places.
Because of this, Bloomberg New Energy Finance are predicting that zero-carbon energy sources will attract 86% of total global investment in new power generating capacity over the next 20 years.
This shows how rapidly the renewables revolution is progressing. 2017 is the first year ever that new solar capacity has been greater than any other electricity producing technology, accounting for half of all new global generating capacity.
The vast majority of the world’s energy still comes from fossil fuels, so there is a long way to go. There is no room for complacency, but the energy transition is under-way, and by being part of it we can tackle climate change.