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One graph to rule them all: The latest IPCC report

The long-awaited latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report dropped last week: ‘Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change.’ The report contains a summary of the science of mitigation, and is used by policy makers, academics and communities around the world to make decisions for the future. 

Jim Skea, co-chair of the IPCC working group that produced the report said, “It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.”

One graph featured in the report received a lot of attention.

“How to stop climate change, in one big beautiful chart,” wrote Jonah Busch, Climate Economics Fellow at Conservation International.

“Wind and solar, overwhelmingly the best opportunity to cut energy emissions. CCS a pretty expensive niche,” wrote Michael Mazengarb, an Australian journalist. 

“Everyone who cares about climate should see this chart out today from IPCC,” wrote Susan Kruse, Executive Director of the Community Climate Collaborative.

“This is probably the most important figure in the new IPCC WG3 report. We need to accelerate the deployment of mature clean energy technologies and behavioral shifts this decade even as we work to develop the technologies we will need for the next few,” wrote Zeke Hausfather, climate scientist and IPCC/NCA5 author. 

Now what you’ve all been waiting for: the graph that got so much attention!

Figure SPM.7: Overview of mitigation options and their estimated ranges of costs and potentials in 2030. Summary for policymakers - p.63

The graph shows all the mitigation options currently available to us that “offer substantial potential” to reduce emissions. 

The bar lines show the potential for emissions reduction that each option offers, and the colours represent cost, with blue being cheap and red being expensive.

The results are clear: wind and solar energy have almost the highest emissions mitigation potential of all options.

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