Climate Voices

March 22, 2023
By: Susan Phillips, Executive Director

It’s time to phase-out fossil fuels

It’s time to phase-out fossil fuels - Photo

On Monday, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the final analysis report on the state of climate change science and policy recommendations. 

The report, pulled together by thousands of scientists across the globe, tells us two important findings: 

  1. Current commitments are not enough to limit the world’s temperature rise to 1.5C  or even 2C (the limit the Paris Agreement ratified as critical to hit.) 
  2. We have all the solutions we need to meet the 1.5C target and prevent further irreversible harm and death –– it is a matter of political will and responsibility that is prohibiting us from getting there. We must act now.

Countries, government leaders, and corporations that have continued to put profits first and have knowingly contributed to the increased carbon in our atmosphere have brought us to this crisis. They must take responsibility for a rapid decrease in emissions now — and we all must hold them accountable. 

“There is a reason why everyone talks about 1.5°. It’s not a craving, not a buzzword, not a wish list by environmentalists… it’s a scientific survival target. —  Chiara Martinelli, Director at Climate Action Network Europe

Wealthy countries from the Global North that are the historic and current drivers of the climate crisis need to provide the resources and funding to mitigate and adapt to climate change. In our own backyards, and in communities across the world, people are already dying, losing their homes. We need to bring to fruition every attempt to stick to 1.5C and not abandon those on the frontlines of the climate crisis: Black people, Indigenous people, Communities of Color, women, children, people with disabilities and illnesses, poorer populations, low-lying island nations, and most marginalized groups.  

We know our road map. Global greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by at least 43% by 2030.

It means we must end our dependence on fossil fuels and stop fossil fuel expansion and extraction. 

Adaptation and mitigation actions that prioritize equity, social justice, climate justice, rights-based approaches, and inclusivity lead to more sustainable outcomes, reduce trade-offs, support transformative change, and advance climate resilient development,” the report states.  

Solutions like renewable energy, electrification, energy efficiency, land management, regenerative agriculture, reduced food waste and loss, climate change education, and more, offer ample opportunity to mitigate climate change while addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals like improving food security, gender inequality, energy poverty, and species extinction. 

This IPCC assessment charts a collective map for a future that while difficult to achieve, is possible. 
We call for countries to commit to climate goals and decarbonization targets that embody the vision of a future we imagine and our children deserve. We call for the United States to stop the Willow oil project –– there is no room for new fossil fuel developments. We call on countries that aim to be climate champions to value and prioritize humanity and the vision of a renewable and just world beyond climate crisis.

In solidarity,

Susan Phillips

Susan Phillips
Executive Director

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What we’re reading to understand the key findings of the report:
This IPCC Report Will Be the Last for Several Years | Atmos
Can We Still Limit Global Warming to 1.5°C? Here’s What the Latest Science Says | Union of Concerned Scientists

Image Credit: NOAA / NOAA