Fashion Needs to Halve Emissions by 2030 to Make Meaningful Impact

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On Monday, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its “Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report.”

Its emphasis is, once again, pointing toward more urgent climate action.

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In all sectors — including fashion — emissions will need to be almost halved by 2030, if warming is to be limited to 1.5-degrees Celsius (as outlined in the Paris Agreement), according to the report.

As it stands, fashion’s sustainability targets are not aggressive enough, the report states.

Fashion’s obscured supply chain emissions targets (or those that omit Scope 3, or indirect emissions, or focus only on carbon dioxide emissions) aren’t enough to tackle climate change, and as in past IPCC reports, the group said net-zero emissions targets are ultimately what’s needed to stabilize the climate.

In a press conference that was livestreamed from Switzerland Monday, Dr. Hoesung Lee, chair of the IPCC, called the latest report the “most comprehensive assessment of the climate change science” and “the resource for policymakers at a critical moment in history.” IPCC reports are drafted and reviewed in several stages for accuracy and clarity with 195 member governments and thousands of comments steering the work over time.

This latest report summarizes the findings of the IPCC’s six reports released since 2015. The report also condenses the three previous special reports while offering new climate investment insights and actionable steps.

Lee said the report highlights the warning that, “The pace and scale of what has been done so far and current plans are insufficient to tackle climate change.”

With that, rapid scale-up of infrastructure is needed alongside “fair” solutions that assist the lowest emitters (and most vulnerable nations) first. These include renewable energy, greener transportation and buildings, walkable cities, as well as societal changes like increased recycling efforts or the advent of remote work. Per the report, people living in climate vulnerable areas are up to 15 times more likely to die in flooding, droughts, storms or other climate-induced severe weather events.

To make those shifts, climate investment would need to be three to six times the current financing. As WWD reported, the August IPCC report found nations failed to meet the financing goals outlined under the Paris Agreement to mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020 for meaningful climate mitigation action.

“Vulnerable areas just don’t enough money to fund the urgent need to adapt to climate change but there are ways to reduce the barriers that hold back investment,” said Lee. Lee said there’s plenty of capital to mobilize from wealthier nations and regulators are able to read extensively about collaborative climate-resilient development (not only financial solutions) outlined in this IPCC synthesis.

“The [choices] we make now and in the next few years will reverberate around the world for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years,” reiterated Lee.

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