The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change contains irrefutable scientific evidence for what C40 mayors already know: that climate breakdown will make major cities uninhabitable if we don’t cut greenhouse gas emissions immediately. 

Some of the changes to our climate are irreversible and as the Climate Crisis Action Group has separately pointed out, tipping points in some ecosystems have already been passed, accelerating the impacts of global heating. 

Most importantly, this IPCC analysis suggests we still have a chance of constraining global average temperature rise to 1.5°C, but only with huge, immediate cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions. This report marks our last warning. Carry on as we are and by the time of the next IPCC report at the end of this decade, it will be too late to keep to 1.5°C.

Mayors are already taking action – investing so people can switch from polluting cars to emission-free shared transport, regulating to transform the energy efficiency of homes and offices, and expanding renewable electricity while divesting pension funds from fossil fuels. 

We need that action to be supported by much bigger and faster national and international investment. Right now must be the moment when governments, development banks, and private investors decisively end all new support for fossil fuels and invest in a clean energy future. 

The first step must be an immediate and decisive investment in a green and fair recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic – the biggest test of any government’s commitment to climate action. 

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, said “Today’s IPCC Working Group 1 Report is a code red for humanity”. He’s right. 

Mark Watts
Executive Director, C40 Cities

Share article

More Articles