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The Rev. Richard Killmer, a retired Presbyterian minister, lives in Yarmouth.

I remember the United Nations climate talks in Paris in 2015 well where I was attending as an observer. The 195 nations that were members of the UN Framework Convention at that time received a draft report that the nations of the world could not allow the global temperature to rise above a 2-degree Celsius increase over where it was in 1880. Then the scientists who were attending COP26 (the 26th annual Conference of Parties) as members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change spoke up to say that a 2-degree increase was too high and had to be only a 1.5-degree increase.

The Paris Agreement agreed with the scientists, and the world is now trying to keep the global temperature to 1.5 degrees. The New York Times says that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is reporting that “beyond 1.5 C, the impacts of catastrophic heat waves, flooding, drought, crop failures and species extinction become significantly harder for humanity to handle.” The global temperature is already at a 1.1-degree Celsius increase.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gives regular reports, and it is now saying that the world needs to cut emissions by half by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050. That means that humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions will have to decrease, and that we will need to take out some of the greenhouse gases that are already in the gas blanket that surrounds the Earth, which catches the heat that bounces off the Earth from the sun. If those two steps are taken, the world and its inhabitants would have about a 50 percent chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The two largest emitters, China and the U.S., still have plans to increase their use of oil and gas (including the big U.S. drilling project in Alaska called Willow). That has got to stop, though a limited amount of those fossil fuels may be needed as the world transitions to renewable energy including solar, wind and geothermal.

The New York Times reminds us that “many scientists have pointed out that surpassing the 1.5-degree threshold will not mean humanity is doomed. But every fraction of a degree of additional warming is expected to increase the severity of dangers that people around the world face, such as water scarcity, malnutrition and deadly heat waves.”

After the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, the Biden administration announced on April 12 a plan to create some of the most stringent auto pollution limits in the world, designed to ensure that all-electric cars make up as much as 67 percent of new passenger vehicles sold in the country by 2032. So instead of vehicles being powered by gasoline, they will be powered by electricity.

That would represent a quantum leap for the United States — where  just 5.8 percent of vehicles sold last year were all-electric — and would exceed President Joe Biden’s earlier ambitions to have all-electric cars account for half of those sold in the country by 2030.

It would be the federal government’s most aggressive climate regulation and would propel the United States to the front of the global effort to slash the greenhouse gases generated by cars, a major driver of climate change. This move would be a major step to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and hence reduce the dangers of sea level rise, draughts, floods and more powerful hurricanes.

Rapidly speeding up the adoption of electric vehicles in the United States would require these changes: construction of millions of new EV charging stations, an overhaul of electric grids to accommodate the power needs of those chargers and securing materials needed for EV batteries.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has given humanity a stern warning. We need to take bold action to keep the Earth’s temperature at no more than an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Building on the success of the Inflation Reduction Act, the administration is now proposing to take steps which will increase the number of electric vehicles on the roads — a major proposal that will greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.