IPCC report offers stark warnings and a path of hope

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns there is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all but also offers hope of progress in areas that ARENA is committed to reforming.

“As we solve problems, new ones arise but also new opportunities”

ARENA CEO Darren Miller

To a large extent, the latest Synthesis Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes grim reading.

Human-caused climate change has already led to widespread adverse impacts, which have brought related damage to nature and people.

The report confirms with a high level of confidence that global warning will increase with ever more complex and cascading risks.

But while many adverse changes are unavoidable and irreversible, there is hope of limiting the effects of climate change through deep, rapid and sustained emissions reductions.

In particular, the report highlights action that can be taken in areas in which ARENA is active.

Rapid and far-reaching transitions

At the very top of its section sub-headed “Mitigation and Adaptation Options across Systems”, the report urges: “Rapid and far-reaching transitions across all sectors and systems are necessary to achieve deep and sustained emissions reductions.”

One of the necessary transitions, the report says, is the deployment of low or zero-emissions technologies.

It lists a series of changes to energy systems that ARENA is already actively pursuing: reduction in fossil fuel use; widespread electrification; renewable energy diversification; and smart grid technologies, to name but a few.

And in the area of industry and transport: low-emission hydrogen and its derivatives; transformational changes in industrial processes; electric vehicles, including heavy trucks.

The report also places particular emphasis on the need of accessible finance. “Enhancing technology innovation systems,” the report says, “is key to accelerate the widespread adoption of technologies and practices.”

ARENA’s unique breadth of technologies

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the report confirms the criticality of ARENA’s work.

“We are supporting the global transition to net zero emissions by accelerating the pace of pre-commercial innovation. Importantly, we do that with the support of the government, research and industry,” he said.

“The number of projects that we do, the breadth of technologies is quite unique.

“But we need to continue to adapt, because as we solve problems, new ones arise but also new opportunities.

“Australia is fortunate to have abundant potential renewable energy resources, world-beating expertise and engaged industries. We can be an innovative global leader in the battle to mitigate the risks of climate change.”

What is the IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report?

The IPCC’s sixth Assessment Report (AR6) is a comprehensive examination of climate change, its risks and action to reduce harm.

The IPCC has published five previous assessment reports, starting with AR1 in 1990.

The AR6 Synthesis Report, written by 39 core-writers from 23 countries, brings together the findings from three earlier AR6 reports. Those reports examined the physical science of climate change, its widespread impacts and risks, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Although there is no new evidence in the Synthesis Report, it does distil the evidence in earlier reports into a single document.

The next IPCC assessment report is not due until around 2030. That year is deemed critical for emissions reductions targets which could limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C. If those targets are not met, then the likelihood is warming will reach 2 degrees C or even higher.

That makes the findings of this report, and the actions taken, critically important.

Since 2012, ARENA has supported 653 projects with $2.04 billion in grant funding, unlocking a total investment of almost $9.06 billion in Australia’s renewable energy industry.