Katowice, Dec 13 (PTI) EU businesses, investors, cities and regions joined hands on Thursday here to build a “net zero emission Europe” by 2050 at the latest, recognising the urgency of the climate challenge as conveyed by the latest scientific evidence in the IPCC’s 1.5 degree C report. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on 1.5 degree Celsius makes it clear that the 2 degree Celsius threshold referred to in the 2015 Paris Agreement is more dangerous than previously thought, and that unprecedented economic transformations are needed in the next decade to keep warming under the 1.5 degree Celsius benchmark.

As part of the non-state actors initiative launched at the margins of the UN Climate conference here, 22 business, 15 investors, 6 cities and 2 regions from across Europe have joined the joint vision. “The new initiative, Step Up Now, sets a joint vision for creating a new European economy and society,” according to a statement.

It said that the move would bring an opportunity to support a better, healthier and more sustainable ways of life.

“This is an opportunity for a managed transition, to create good jobs in growing fields, to bolster innovative industries, to build out resilient infrastructure, and to develop new business models that support a better, healthier, and more sustainable way of life,” the statement said.

This is another vital contribution by non-state actors committing to do their share and stepping up their activities in the context of the Talanoa Dialogue.

“We are businesses, investors, cities and regions who are seizing this opportunity. We are working to quickly and substantially advance energy efficiency and increase the share of renewables in the energy system to rapidly move away from fossil fuel use,” the statement said.

“We are working to shift transport away from polluting models to people-centred systems. We are producing food and using land more sustainably,”it said.

“These actions bring immediate benefits to people’s everyday lives: reducing the negative health impacts from pollution and making buildings and workplaces more comfortable and productive,” the statement added.

The initiative was launched a day after the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated that the IPCC report, which called for capping Earth’s rising temperature at 1.5 degree Celsius to avoid the danger of runaway warming, cannot be ignored.

His comments came in the wake of several countries, including the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait, blocking the efforts to endorse the report during the climate talks.

“The IPCC special report is a stark acknowledgment of what the consequences of global warming beyond 1.5 degrees C will mean for billions of people around the world, especially those who call small island states home… we cannot afford to ignore it,” he said.

Guterres said the IPCC report outlined a catastrophic future if no action was taken immediately.

The 45 actors voice their expectation that the EU increases its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement and sets a long-term decarbonisation pathway by 2020.

“The EU has the knowledge, skillset and economic drivers to deliver net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. It will be essential to scale up efforts over the next decade and review existing targets for 2030 accordingly. We believe the European countries can and should show the way towards a zero-emissions future,” it said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.