CNN
Now playing
01:51
Climate change report issues dire new warning
CNN
Now playing
03:29
Meet teen climate activist Greta Thunberg
Shutterstock
Now playing
01:13
What you can actually do to slow the climate crisis
Now playing
02:30
The Road to Change: America's Climate Crisis
Now playing
03:18
Climate crisis in Alaska is impacting the entire world
faces of climate change orig nws_00005521.jpg
faces of climate change orig nws_00005521.jpg
Now playing
01:46
How climate change is changing lives
climate change 97 percent consensus orig_00005513.jpg
climate change 97 percent consensus orig_00005513.jpg
Now playing
02:29
Scientists agree: Climate change is man-made
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Now playing
03:28
See how candidates stood out in 7 hours of climate talk
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren participates in a climate crisis town hall hosted by CNN in New York on September 4, 2019.
Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren participates in a climate crisis town hall hosted by CNN in New York on September 4, 2019.
Now playing
01:51
Warren: Where Trump is right now is a nightmare
CNN
Now playing
02:41
Biden: Military warned us of climate crisis danger
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Now playing
01:46
Sanders: Trump's stance on climate change is idiotic
CNN
Now playing
02:03
Harris on Trump: Lead or get out of the way
CNN
Now playing
00:56
Yang: You know what's expensive? Poisoning our kids
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Now playing
01:54
O'Rourke: We need to support the people of Puerto Rico
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Now playing
01:25
Pete Buttigieg: I would ask Trump to step aside
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren participates in a climate crisis town hall hosted by CNN in New York on September 4, 2019.
Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren participates in a climate crisis town hall hosted by CNN in New York on September 4, 2019.
Now playing
02:25
Warren: This is what fossil fuel wants us talking about
julian castro 9.4
CNN
julian castro 9.4
Now playing
03:23
Student calls out Julian Castro's record on fracking
(CNN) —  

A stark new report from the global scientific authority on climate change calls on individuals, as well as governments, to take action to avoid disastrous levels of global warming.

The report, which maps out four pathways to cap Earth’s average surface temperature at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels indicates that changes in individual behavior can make a difference.

But to do that, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says, would require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

The IPCC’s models emphasize the need for people to change their lifestyle and consumption patterns to more sustainable alternatives, specifically in areas they can control, like modes of transportation, the buildings they inhabit and their dietary preferences.

“It’s a really new way for the IPCC to report on mitigation pathways, the carbon budgets are so tight for 1.5C that we need drastic action on the policy scale, the business and industry scale, but also on the part of consumers,” World Wildlife Fund’s lead climate scientist, Chris Weber, told CNN.

Asked whether consumers can help meet this goal, Weber responded: “Unequivocally, yes.”

Here’s what consumers can do

Transportation: In order to meet the 1.5C goal, the IPCC envisages a future where people travel less, and that generally consumer preferences shift to more sustainable choices like car sharing and hybrid and electric cars. The report also looks at using more efficient modes of travel, e.g. swapping cars, trucks and planes to buses and trains.

Buildings: While this section is less prescriptive, the IPCC suggests that people shift to more sustainable behavior when it comes to their homes, for example using smart thermostats or more efficient air conditioners.

Diets: Again, the models aren’t comprehensive, but in general, the IPCC’s narrative suggests that people consume about 30% less animal products. Eating less meat is one of a number of mitigation strategies suggested by the IPCC to overhaul agricultural and land-use practices, including the protection of forests. The livestock sector is estimated to account for 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, more than direct emissions from the transport sector.

These so-called shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs), which focus on mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, are a fairly new innovation and draw a new dimension to climate modeling: the impact of changes in human behavior.

“It’s very clear just by looking at the archetypical pathways that they’ve [IPCC] pulled out … that the consumer dimensions allow emissions to be cut much faster,” Weber said.