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Linda Schneider is a senior program officer for international climate policy at the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Berlin.

As an expert reviewer and observer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, I was in the Zoom room during the marathon negotiations that concluded last Monday with the release of the new report. Like many of my colleagues in the climate advocacy world, I’m deeply concerned that it avoids saying what needs to be said: We can’t just reduce fossil fuels, we must fully phase out fossil fuels. And we must do so before 2050. 

Earlier reports made clear that devastating impacts of the climate crisis are already unfolding, and the opportunity to curb the worst outcomes is fading. But this report, focused on mitigation, dilutes fossil fuel “phase out” by emphasizing “abatement technologies” like carbon capture storage, calling these still largely theoretical techno fixes “unavoidable.” 

The report is based on best-case scenarios that rely on technological miracles that IPCC’s own scientists have deemed infeasible at scale.

How did this happen? The IPCC heavily relies on something calle... Read more

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