Last week’s poll: limiting global warming to 1.5° C

What should be the priority for action to meet the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recommended maximum temperature rise to minimise the effects of global warming?

Last week’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommended “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to limit global warming to 1.5ºC.

According to the IPCC, this would require changing the way we use and develop land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities, adding that emissions of CO2 from human endeavours would have to fall by about 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. Remaining emissions, said IPCC, would be balanced by removing carbon dioxide from the air.

To this end, the UK government is seeking advice from the Committee on Climate Change on setting a date for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the nation’s economy.

For 46 per cent of respondents to last week’s poll, the way to limiting global warming to 1.5ºC involves the accelerated implementation of low-carbon electricity generation and heat, followed by 16 per cent who advocate the encouragement of low-carbon habits.

From the remaining vote, 15 per cent agreed that more trees should be planted, 10 per cent opted for the development of atmospheric carbon absorption, and 13 per cent chose ‘none of the above’, which some respondents would’ve preferred to have been offered as ‘all of the above’. Included among them was Another Steve, who said: “Although people want to do what they can, I’m not convinced the will is there to make the necessary changes to achieve a low carbon lifestyle. The people that can make the biggest changes are the governments of the world but when you look at what Trump is doing and the UK government’s feeble attempts at controls while pushing fracking, I wonder ‘why bother’ ?”

Alan Pendry said: “Individuals, whether domestic or industrial, are unlikely to make any real changes without significant incentives. It is down to energy providers and government to implement change which the rest of us will then use without thinking about it: consider some of the most successful online shopping sites, and make the decision for the customer by adopting a “one click” way of complying without effort or even knowledge of what’s going on in the background. They key word here, of course, is “government” – the political will needs to be there, not the short-term, will-I-get-elected-next-time thinking that seems the mantra of most politicians. Someone needs to get their hands dirty.”

What do you think? Keep the conversation alive using Comments below, but remember that this is a discussion focused on the merits of different carbon-and energy-reduction techniques and policies, rather than on the political debate over climate change.

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