The UK Government must end its support for the oil and gas industry, campaigners have said, in light of a renewed warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
In a synthesis report published on Monday, the IPCC said there remains to be more private and non-private finance going to fossil fuels than to climate mitigation and adaptation.
It is going to be inconceivable to satisfy the internationally agreed goal of stopping the worldwide average temperature exceeding 1.5C above pre-industrial levels if CO2 emissions from existing fossil fuel infrastructure usually are not reduced, the authors said.
To satisfy this goal requires deep and drastic emissions cuts across all sectors of society, they said, though some difficult-to-decarbonise industries, equivalent to aviation, shipping and agriculture can have to be supported by carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).
Current policies are projected to heat the Earth to three.2C above pre-industrial levels, which could set off dangerous and unpredictable tipping points equivalent to melting of the polar ice caps, scientists have previously warned.
Alexander Kirk, fossil fuel campaigner at Global Witness, said: “12 months after 12 months, the IPCC’s reports keep sounding the alarm, but business remains to be booming for the oil and gas industry and governments proceed to top up their immense profits with billions in tax relief and other subsidies.
“That is bankrupting the planet and threatening the lives of tens of millions while making a handful of executives and shareholders incredibly wealthy.
“All Government support for the oil and gas industry must be urgently redirected to renewable energy and to shifting us onto a green economy. This can even help hand a lifeline to countries which might be already sinking under rising sea levels and suffering extreme drought.”
The IPCC said the associated fee of mitigating climate change might be lower than the damage attributable to higher temperatures.
In addition they emphasised the knock-on advantages of climate solutions equivalent to how switching to wash energy will improve health and lower healthcare costs by reducing air pollution.
In 2017 alone, the associated fee to the NHS and social care due to air pollution was estimated to be £42.88 million, in keeping with Public Health England evaluation.
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “The IPCC is spot on – the fossil fuel era is over.
“So if our own Government is to heed this warning, it must cancel the Cumbria coal mine, drop the proposed Rosebank oil field and unblock onshore wind and solar with immediate effect.
“The evidence is evident and the solutions are here – that is our last probability to secure our survival.”
Environmental groups are waiting for the Government’s so-called “Green Day”, expected before the top of March, when it must reply to a High Court order and revise its net zero policies.
Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at Friends of the Earth, said: “Strengthening this might be the Government’s best opportunity to point out that it’s listening to the science and put the UK on track to develop into a thriving green economy.
“For this to occur, we’d like to see an enormous drive to insulate the UK’s heat-leaking homes, faster development of low-cost, clean, renewable energy, fewer roads being built and an end to latest fossil fuel infrastructure.”
A Government spokesperson said: “Today’s report makes clear that nations around the globe must work towards way more ambitious climate commitments ahead of Cop28.
“The UK is a world leader in working towards net zero, but we’d like to go further and faster. That’s the reason we’re committing to constructing more wind, solar and nuclear capability, in addition to driving forward hydrogen and CCUS, supporting as much as 480,000 well-paid green jobs, and leveraging as much as £100 billion of personal investment by 2030.
“It will bolster our energy security and help ensure we bring down wholesale electricity prices to among the many lowest in Europe.”
Danny Halpin is the PA environment correspondent.