Apr 13 • 1HR 4M

Volts podcast: Paulina Jaramillo on the IPCC's new climate-solutions report

Working Group Three in effect y'all.

David Roberts
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Volts is a podcast about leaving fossil fuels behind. I've been reporting on and explaining clean-energy topics for almost 20 years, and I love talking to politicians, analysts, innovators, and activists about the latest progress in the world's most important fight. (Volts is entirely subscriber-supported. Sign up!)
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Anyone who’s followed climate change for a while has become accustomed to the cycle of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — the dire warnings, the brief flurry of press coverage, and the rapid return to normal. It’s easy for them to blur together.

But the latest IPCC release is worth a closer look. It’s not about the science, or the impacts, but the solutions — how to fix the problem. (Technically it’s the third part of the sixth comprehensive assessment report, which is being rolled out in phases.) “Mitigation of Climate Change” is a comprehensive review of the economic sectors that emit greenhouse gases, the strategies and technologies that can reduce emissions, and the state of play in climate policy around the world.

The overall message is quite familiar: it’s still possible to meet the target of keeping global warming below 1.5° Celsius, but the window is getting extremely small and it would require immediate, coordinated global action. Even limiting temperature to 2°C requires massive action. But at the same time, the tools and technologies for tackling the problem have never been cheaper or more accessible. Our capacity to solve the problem is rising alongside its severity.

Paulina Jaramillo (CMU)

To dig into the report and its significance, I chatted with Paulina Jaramillo, a professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, co-director of its Green Design Institute, and one of the co-authors of the WG3 report. We talked about how the report fits in with the IPCC’s other work, the kind of research it draws on, its major conclusions, and the usefulness of these kinds of reports going forward.