Latest international climate report calls for local action (Sustain Charlotte statement)

Read Sustain Charlotte’s statement about the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report — and why we need to reduce our region’s reliance on cars.

Charlotte, N.C. (March 20, 2023) — Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its latest report on the present impacts and imminent risks of climate change.

The report, compiled by hundreds of scientists and policy experts and approved by representatives of 195 countries, calls for a sharp, swift reduction in fossil fuel use in order to limit the global average temperature to within 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

According to the report, the actions taken in the next 10 years will “largely determine” what happens to the planet for centuries to come. Necessary steps include reducing greenhouse gases by half by 2030 and, after that, ceasing to add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by the early 2050s.

Specifically, we must stop burning fossil fuels. According to the report, one way to do that is to make cities safer and more accessible for people to walk and ride bikes.

In the Queen City

In Charlotte, transportation accounts for nearly 40% of our local greenhouse gas emissions and is our largest source of emissions locally and nationally. This is due to our sprawling development pattern combined with a lack of investment in ways to get around other than driving.

This is why Sustain Charlotte advocates for more compact development and increased investment in walking, biking, and public transit infrastructure.

“The IPCC report highlights the need for us to reduce how much we’re driving and why,” says Shannon Binns, founder and executive director of Sustain Charlotte. “Growing our region in a way that makes it safe and easy to walk, ride a bike, or take public transit is critical to meaningfully reducing our contribution to global climate change. The good news is that we can individually take action to do this.”

What’s next The IPCC report will serve as a basis for the next round of climate negotiations to be held by the United Nations.

At Sustain Charlotte, we will continue to advocate for a permanent, significant source of funding for climate-friendly and affordable transportation infrastructure including transit, bike, pedestrian and roads redesigned for everyone, no matter how they get around.

“We must build a diverse, sustainable transportation system that keeps up with our rapid population growth and mitigates climate change,” says Binns. “We have to make it easy for residents and visitors to easily get where they need to go without having to rely on a car.”