Save for later Print Download Share LinkedIn Twitter CLIMATE -- A new UN climate science report released this week offered a stark “reality check,” warning that time is running out to avert the most damaging effects of global warming. Although compiled primarily as a guide for policymakers, the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is likely to also be widely used as a reference framework, for example by insurance companies, investors pressing companies to adapt to climate risk, and judges in climate litigation cases (PIW Jun.4'21). It states that emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) from human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1°C of warming since the period between 1850-1900. It suggests that unless there are rapid and large-scale reductions in GHG, the world could exceed the “carbon budget” to stay within a 1.5°C increase by around 2030 and within a 2°C rise in the mid-2040s. The report does not specify how CO2 emissions should be cut. However, coal is clearly first in the firing line. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also called on all nations, particularly G20 members and other major emitters, to commit to net-zero emissions targets, and “sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels.” He called for an end to construction of new coal plants after this year and the total phaseout of existing coal by 2040. Countries should also end all new fossil fuel exploration and new developments, and shift fossil fuel subsidies into renewable energy.