Comments on upcoming IPCC WG3 climate report – solutions for averting the worst climate impacts

Comments from an ECIU media briefing on the upcoming IPCC report from Working Group 3 on mitigation.

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By George Smeeton

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At a media briefing hosted on Tuesday 22 March by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), attendees heard a panel of experts discuss the implications of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group III report which will be published on Monday 4th April [1].

The report covers climate mitigation (actions to prevent further climate change), and follows on from last month’s Working Group II report on climate impacts and adaptation, described by some scientists as “the bleakest warning yet” [2].

Having reported on the state of the climate science and the scale of the impacts already being faced, and which lie ahead, the latest reports offers solutions for achieving net zero and averting the worst of those impacts.

Critically, these reports will feed into a synthesis report, due in September, that will inform the formal negotiations of the next UN Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in November, where countries are expected to demonstrate delivery of climate plans and, to raise their climate ambition where this falls short.

Prof. Emily Shuckburgh, Director of Cambridge Zero at the University of Cambridge said:

“This is a preventable global crisis. Not only do we know  how to cut emissions and adapt, but we already have almost all the tools we need to avert the worst impacts. Yet we are a long way from being on track: global pledges do not yet add up to the cuts needed and too many big emitters are not making enough progress on delivering them.”

“With less than eight months until COP27 in Egypt, the UK presidency focus must be on ensuring big emitters deliver on climate plans while themselves demonstrating global leadership.”

Prof. Michael Grubb, Professor of Energy and Climate Change at University College London said:

“Accelerating progress at the pace required is possible, but far from a given: it will all come down to whether governments deepen and broaden the policies that have started to work, including international support for clean investment in developing countries still struggling with the impacts and aftermath of Covid-19.”

“The IPCC’s report on Impacts and Adaptation in February warned of a ‘brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all’. To date, global progress to cut emissions is not enough to meet the Paris goals, but there are tangible signs of progress – including evidence of sustained emission reductions in several countries, and of course technology and other developments.

“The Working Group III report looks at progress in relation to the Paris goals and what we have achieved so far. It considers improvements in technology and infrastructure, such as renewables, heat pumps and batteries, and assesses the options we have available to reduce emissions at the pace necessary to ‘secure a liveable future for all’”

Rachel Kyte, Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University said:

“The world is an increasingly dangerous place, with inter-connected global crises threatening people’s lives and livelihoods almost everywhere. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia makes international collaboration on these crises more complex; it does not take away the imperative to act urgently to curb climate change. In fact, it may spur an urgent response to our profligate use of fossil fuels in a way that climate science on its own, has not.

Net-zero remains the route plan to resolving the climate threat which provides the context to geopolitics now and for decades to come. Accelerating towards net-zero is also essential in resetting our relationship with an autocratic Russian regime that threatens peace and stability.

The war is also sending shock waves around the world with food price and fuel and commodity prices on the rise. This accentuates the call from developing countries for support. Coming on top of the economic impact of the pandemic, and the disappointment of climate finance outcomes in Glasgow, the UK needs to help rally the international system as a P5, G7, and NATO member, and as the COP President.”

Sam Hall, Director of the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) said:

"Far from distracting from the UK's COP26 Presidency, the Ukraine crisis and surging energy bills have underlined the importance of delivering the Glasgow Climate Pact.

"Reducing expensive fossil fuel consumption, rolling out cheap British renewables, and improving energy efficiency are the best ways to cut people's bills in the short term and improve energy sovereignty. This approach also promises good-paying jobs and new industries in our industrial heartlands, and delivers on the Conservatives' 2019 manifesto commitment on net zero.

"It's in Britain's best economic and national security interests to deliver net zero at home and champion climate action abroad."

  1. The IPCC is meeting virtually to consider the contribution of Working Group 3 (WG3) to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), between 21st March and 1st April, 2022 – the 14th session of Working Group 3, and the 56th session of the IPCC.
    This session will consider the Summary for Policymakers (SPM), which will be approved line-by-line by government representatives, working with report authors. The IPCC will then formally accept the report.
    After closure of the session, an online press conference will take place at 10am BST (London) on Monday 4th April to introduce the report, as it is published. The press conference will also be live-streamed publicly.
    The Summary for Policymakers, press release and related materials will be made available to registered media under embargo, shortly after approval of the SPM, with the embargo ending as the press conference begins.
    Press accreditation for IPCC meetings (deadline 11:59pm CET, 30th March) can be applied for via this link here. To receive embargoed materials, you must check the option for ‘embargo’ on the form. Registration for the press conference is not necessary just to view the live stream, but if you wish to be able to ask questions, then you will need to register using this form.
  2. The IPCC’s Working Group II, titled Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, can be accessed here.