Latest IPCC report draws attention to consumer behavior in achieving climate goals

THE ROLE consumers and energy systems is emphasized in the latest report from the working group focusing on mitigation by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The IPCC revealed on Monday that comprehensive demand-side strategies across all sectors, such as strategies to encourage cycling and walking rather than car use or promoting plant-based diets rather than those made from meat, could reduce global carbon dioxide by 40 and other measures of greenhouse gas emissions. –70% by 2050.

“Putting the right policies, infrastructure and technologies in place to enable changes in our lifestyles and behaviors can lead to a 40-70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” declared Priyadarshi Shuklaco-chair of the third working group of the IPCC.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Emma Kari (Green vegetables) declared that the report draws attention to the role of consumers, “not only as drivers of policies but also for concrete measures to reduce emissions such as saving energy, consuming plant-based foods and the transition to emission-free transport”.

“What’s encouraging is that measures that can solve the climate crisis often have other positive effects on, for example, people’s health,” she said.

Food choices are particularly important, with scientists believing they have greater potential for reducing emissions than transport, building and industry, according to Helsingin Sanomat.

“Also in Finland, diets have enormous potential to reduce emissions, even though mobility is the most central issue for individuals here,” said Jyri Seppalaresponsible for consumption and production at the Finnish Environment Institute (Syke).

“The greatest potential lies in plant-based diets that use only limited amounts of red meat,” he added. “Dietary changes are difficult because they require culture changes.”

The IPCC recalled that although consumer behavior can create an incentive for the production of low-emission products and services, the right kind of infrastructure and technology is needed to, on the one hand, facilitate consumer choices. and, on the other hand, to allow industries to develop new products.

Kari said the report delivers the serious message that the climate crisis and rising emissions are already endangering biodiversity and food, water and energy security.

“One of the main messages of the recently released report is that emission reductions are needed across all sectors, and they are urgently needed, she said. “In particular, changes in energy systems require a move away from the use of fossil fuels, a transition to renewable forms of energy, and an increase in energy efficiency and savings.”

“It is no longer only necessary for the climate but also for security, as the recent crises and the war in Ukraine have shown.”

Kari pointed out that the recommendations set out in the report indicate that there is no silver bullet to achieving sustainability goals. “Everyone has to do their part – be it state, government and policy makers or businesses and consumers,” she told Helsingin Sanomat.

In Finland, the path to carbon neutrality by the middle of the next decade will be laid out in an upcoming climate law which will establish a framework for different types of economic activities.

Kari said the key will be to phase out the use of fossil fuels and replace them with renewable energy sources.

“We must use all possible means to complete the green transition. Half a billion euros have been earmarked for this year alone in Finland for investments in clean energy. We will then review all the measures that can accelerate the green transition.

The IPCC has identified a variety of activities that should be avoided, reconsidered or enhanced to bring about the required change in consumer behavior. For example, air travel should be avoided, diets reconsidered and energy efficiency improved.

“Energy efficiency in buildings is also extremely important in Finland,” Seppälä said. “The buildings here consume a lot of energy. With energy efficiency, energy production will become cleaner faster.

The adoption of new technologies will be essential for road and rail transport: “Infrastructure must support, for example, the use of bicycles and public transport. Otherwise, the changes cannot be easily implemented.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres described the report as a “litany of broken climate promises” and “a dossier of shame” that catalogs the empty promises that would have put us firmly on the path to a livable world.

“The jury has returned its verdict, and it is overwhelming,” he said. “We are on the fast track to climate catastrophe,” he said. noted in a video message.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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