What Does '12 Years to Save the Planet' Really Mean?
The 2018 IPCC report indicated that global emissions must be reduced by 45% by 2030 and net-zero by 2050 if we want a likely chance of keeping temperatures from increasing over 1.5C. Unfortunately, some members of the media have interpreted this as meaning we have 11 years to act. What it really means is that as of 2019 we have only 11 years to reduce our emissions by 45%. We have to act NOW!
A recent article in TreeHugger contributed this to the discussion.
"When I wrote about a report suggesting the pace of decarbonization needs to treble, I also mentioned the recent IPCC report which has garnered various versions of the following headline: "We have 12 years to save the planet."
"This phrase, or something like it, has been bandied about by politicians, journalists and activists alike. In many ways it's a useful framing that drives home the urgency of the situation we face. There is also, however, a strong danger (nay, certainty) that it will be misunderstood and/or misrepresented. So let's first cover what it doesn't mean:
"1) It does not mean that we have 12 years before we have to act.
2) It does not mean that we have 12 years to completely decarbonize.
3) And it does not mean that the fight is over if we fail to reach our target in 12 years."....