DURHAM, N.C. -- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest assessment report on Monday detailing the most recent understanding of observed changes in the world’s climate.
The authors of the report conclude that climate change is widespread and intensifying, and some of the observed changes, such as continued sea level rise, “are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.”
The following Duke University experts offer comments for your coverage.
“Climate change science has made huge advancements in my lifetime. The latest report from the IPCC features the most precise forecasting we have ever seen,” says Kate Konschnik, director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. “We need climate change policies to make the same quantum leaps if we have any hope of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius to limit the worst impacts.”
“The report finds that climate change already poses severe risks to humanity that will only worsen if not addressed swiftly. This underscores the urgency of transforming energy systems and land practices to deeply curtail greenhouse gas emissions,” says Brian Murray, interim director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and Duke University Energy Initiative. “The report also indicates that, even with an aggressive approach to emissions reduction, stabilizing temperatures could take decades. Climate resilience must be front and center in decision-making about the natural and built environment, particularly for the sake of our most vulnerable communities.”
“It’s good to see some positive paths forward among all the dire trends in the observations, such as the report emphasizing that strong reductions in methane would both reduce warming and improve air quality,” says Drew Shindell, Nicholas Distinguished Professor of Earth Science at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.
“We need to rethink the idea that climate change is a business risk that can be managed; this report makes clear that climate change is already disrupting every aspect of business, from operations to capital flows to customers and markets,” says Daniel Vermeer, executive director of the Center for Energy, Development and the Global Environment at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. “There can be no doubt that an increasingly unstable climate will be the central feature of this century’s global economic landscape.”
"It is clear from the IPCC findings that temperatures will continue to warm significantly between now and midcentury, but warding off the most pronounced climate dangers remains possible if we use those same decades to progressively decarbonize," says Jackson Ewing, senior fellow at Duke University's Nicholas Institute of Environmental Policy Solutions. "That means seeing major emissions reductions this decade in developed economies, and avoiding rapid emissions climbs in key developing states. Such near-term progress is needed for midcentury goals of ‘net-zero’ emissions to be realistic, and this report shows what’s at stake."
Kate Konschnik is the director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Konschnik's work focuses on options for public electric utility regulation and electricity market reforms given emerging technologies and de-carbonization goals. She has also worked extensively on effective governance of unconventional oil and gas production and transport.
For additional comment, contact Kate Konschnik at: email@example.com
Drew Shindell, professor of earth science at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, researches how climate emissions and air pollution affect human health and food security globally. Shindell has testified before Congress and chairs the science advisory panel to the international Climate and Clean Air Coalition, and he was lead author on the UN’s 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
For additional comment, contact Drew Shindell at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Murray is the interim director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and Duke University Energy Initiative. Murray is widely recognized for his work on the economics of energy policy, particularly as it relates to efforts to mitigate climate change risk. He was a convening lead author of the previous Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on greenhouse gas mitigation from land use change.
For additional comment, contact Brian Murray at: email@example.com
Daniel Vermeer is the founder and director of Duke University's Center for Energy, Development and the Global Environment (EDGE), an initiative that harnesses the power of business to meet the global demand for energy, resources, and improved quality of life.
For additional comment, contact Daniel Vermeer at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jackson Ewing holds a joint appointment as a senior fellow at Duke University's Nicholas Institute of Environmental Policy Solutions and an adjunct associate professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy. Ewing is an expert in sustainable infrastructure, international trade and policy research in the United States and China.
For additional comment, contact Jackson Ewing at: email@example.com
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