IPCC report expected to call for urgent cuts in emissions

Newsletter - October 8, 2018

IPCC 1.5°C Report on Global Warming: Approved Summary

IPCC 1.5°C Report on Global Warming: Approved Summary

Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C approved by governments

Incheon, Republic of Korea, October 8 – Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C was approved by the IPCC on Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

“With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.

Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The report’s full name is Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2°C.

“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

Limiting global warming would also give people and ecosystems more room to adapt and remain below relevant risk thresholds, added Pörtner. The report also examines pathways available to limit warming to 1.5°C, what it would take to achieve them and what the consequences could be. “The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I.

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

“Limiting warming to 1.5°C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or ‘overshoot’ 1.5°C would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5°C by 2100. The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development, the report notes.

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Priyardarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

The decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future, said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

“This report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs. The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” she said.

The IPCC is the leading world body for assessing the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options.

The report was prepared under the scientific leadership of all three IPCC working groups. Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addresses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III deals with the mitigation of climate change.

The Paris Agreement adopted by 195 nations at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015 included the aim of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

As part of the decision to adopt the Paris Agreement, the IPCC was invited to produce, in 2018, a Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The IPCC accepted the invitation, adding that the Special Report would look at these issues in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

Global Warming of 1.5°C is the first in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Cycle. Next year the IPCC will release the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and Climate Change and Land, which looks at how climate change affects land use.

The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents the key findings of the Special Report, based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming of 1.5°C.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) is available at https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15 or www.ipcc.ch.

Key statistics of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C

91 authors from 44 citizenships and 40 countries of residence
– 14 Coordinating Lead Authors (CLAs)
– 60 Lead authors (LAs)
– 17 Review Editors (REs)

133 Contributing authors (CAs)
Over 6,000 cited references
A total of 42,001 expert and government review comments
(First Order Draft 12,895; Second Order Draft 25,476; Final Government Draft: 3,630)

For more information, contact:
IPCC Press Office, Email: ipcc-media@wmo.int
Werani Zabula +41 79 108 3157 or Nina Peeva +41 79 516 7068

Notes for editorsThe Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C, known as SR15, is being prepared in response to an invitation from the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2015, when they reached the Paris Agreement, and will inform the Talanoa Dialogue at the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24). The Talanoa Dialogue will take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in relation to progress towards the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement, and to inform the preparation of nationally determined contributions. Details of the report, including the approved outline, can be found on the report page. The report was prepared under the joint scientific leadership of all three IPCC Working Groups, with support from the Working Group I Technical Support Unit.

What is the IPCC?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. It has 195 member states.

IPCC assessments provide governments, at all levels, with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC assessments are a key input into the international negotiations to tackle climate change. IPCC reports are drafted and reviewed in several stages, thus guaranteeing objectivity and transparency.

The IPCC assesses the thousands of scientific papers published each year to tell policymakers what we know and don’t know about the risks related to climate change. The IPCC identifies where there is agreement in the scientific community, where there are differences of opinion, and where further research is needed. It does not conduct its own research.

To produce its reports, the IPCC mobilizes hundreds of scientists. These scientists and officials are drawn from diverse backgrounds. Only a dozen permanent staff work in the IPCC’s Secretariat.

The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I, dealing with the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II, dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III, dealing with the mitigation of climate change. It also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for measuring emissions and removals.

IPCC Assessment Reports consist of contributions from each of the three working groups and a Synthesis Report. Special Reports undertake an assessment of cross-disciplinary issues that span more than one working group and are shorter and more focused than the main assessments.

Sixth Assessment Cycle
At its 41st Session in February 2015, the IPCC decided to produce a Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). At its 42nd Session in October 2015 it elected a new Bureau that would oversee the work on this report and Special Reports to be produced in the assessment cycle. At its 43rd Session in April 2016, it decided to produce three Special Reports, a Methodology Report and AR6.

The Methodology Report to refine the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories will be delivered in 2019. Besides Global Warming of 1.5°C, the IPCC will finalize two further special reports in 2019: the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate and Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. The AR6 Synthesis Report will be finalized in the first half of 2022, following the three working group contributions to AR6 in 2021.

For more information, including links to the IPCC reports, go to: www.ipcc.ch

Climate Science

Ominous: Carbon Brief’s brilliant new tool maps how far the world has warmed, and much worse it could get
Image credit: Carbon Brief

Now you can check how warm your city will be by 2100

A tool developed by Carbon Brief lets you check how climate is likely to change specifically where you live. The tool combines observed temperature changes with future climate model projections to show how the climate has changed so far and how it might change in the future anywhere in the world.

Study: Warm Atlantic Ocean caused record 2017 storms

A new study says 2017’s record hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, Maria) were predominantly driven by high sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Atlantic than other possible causes such as La Niña, a natural hurricane trigger. Such hurricanes may get 1.5-2 times more frequent by 2080, the study says.

Meanwhile, a separate study says the Arctic sea ice summer minimum in 2018 is the sixth lowest on record since scientists began keeping a record 40 years ago. Melting faster than it ever has, the Arctic sea could be ice-free in the next few decades, says the study by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in the US.

Seeking 1.5C target

Top climate scientists will weigh-in every word of a crucial UN report next week in Incheon, South Korea, which recommends stricter cuts on emissions that cause global warming. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) report recommends cuts that are twice as steep as the International Energy Agency’s boldest projections, allowing only a third of the coal to be consumed by 2030, than today, to keep the warming since industrial era to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The report, drawn from the work of hundreds of climate scientists across 195 nations,  says there is still a chance to avoid the worst impacts if we make radical emissions cuts now. But it also shows just how little time we have left before we are locked into runaway climate change.

Meanwhile, experts have denied ‘offensive claims’ that US, Saudi Arabia and Australia tried to dilute the landmark report.

Climate Policy

Paying for their protest: UK’s anti-fracking protestors were handed jail sentences for blocking Caudrilla from drilling near Blackpool
Image credit: static.guim.co.uk

UK jails three environmental activists for anti-fracking protest

Three climate activists were jailed for an anti-fracking protest in the UK. They were jailed for blocking Caudrilla trucks carrying drilling equipment. The activists’ lawyer said this was the first time environment activists were given a jail sentence since 1932. The activists deserve gratitude, not prison, Greenpeace said.

No trade deals with countries that reject Paris agreement, says Macron

French president, Emmanuel Macron, said France won’t sign trade with countries who do not “respect” Paris climate accord (read the US). And while the US remains adamant to backtrack from the accord, 12 of its neighbours in Latin America and the Caribbean signed a landmark treaty to protect environmental rights, giving more say to people over development projects.

New York hosts back-to-back climate conferences

New York played host to two back-to-back climate conferences, the 9th annual Climate Week and 2nd annual One Planet summit. Canada, Denmark, Spain and the UK joining the Carbon Neutrality Coalition (CNC), at the One Planet Summit, which aims to go carbon neutral by 2050 . Whereas, French and German governments, Hewlett Foundation, IKEA and Blackrock were among those pledging finance for the Climate Finance Partnership, to be set up next year.

While at the New York Climate Week, Grupo Bimbo and Gürmen Group become the first companies from Latin America and Turkey respectively to join the RE100 program.

In another part of the city, American billionaire Mike Bloomberg was appointed UN envoy to lead the green finance drive (with a $100 billion target by 2020), prompting critics to question if businesses will fund flood and drought defence in the future.

EU’s business lobby plans to oppose raising region’s climate targets

A leaked memo from Europe’s main lobby group, BusinessEurope, shows it’s preparing to resist a stronger EU 2030 emissions target, ahead of COP24 summit in Poland later this year. The document suggests EU’s climate policy should be ‘rather positive, as long as it remains a political statement with no implications” on the EU’s existing commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Experts punch holes in UN’s plan for climate migrants

An internal report says the UN lacks a plan to help climate migrants, and called on the UN chief to respond. The report recommended better data collection and analysis on climate migration trends along with finance to help those displaced by natural calamities such as floods, droughts and storms.

G7 shines spotlight on Canada’s climate contradictions

A recent three-day G7 meeting in Halifax, Canada, called for a global joint action for healthy oceans, seas and resilient coastal communities., but also put the spotlight on host Canada as environmentalists demanded its environment minister to resign, than be an “apologist” for her government’s support of the fossil fuel industry.

Air Pollution

Will they deliver? Delhi’s outdoor air purifiers may fare poorly in tackling the sheer volume of its polluted air
Image credit: AsianAge

Experts call air purifiers at Delhi’s traffic signals ‘a distraction’

Delhi officials will install over 50 outdoor air purifiers at major traffic intersections this winter to tackle air pollution. However, sceptical experts have termed them as “a distraction”, and instead called for cutting toxic emissions at their sources – such as from vehicular exhaust, particulate matter (PM) emissions from the region’s coal-fired power stations and from bursting fire-crackers during Diwali.

Stubble burning in Punjab: 8,000 paddy villages under watch, smog expected to rise

To check the menace of paddy stubble burning, the Punjab government will appoint nodal officers in 8,000 paddy growing villages to keep a check. An estimated 15 million tonnes of paddy straw is burnt by farmers for easy clearance of the fields, directly impacting Delhi and surrounding areas, choking them with deadly smog, which is expected to rise this winter.

Delhi’s air pollution will drop 50% in two months: Union transport minister

Transport minister Nitin Gadkari said Delhi’s air pollution will decline by 50% in two months, “once the Haryana ring road is ready and vehicles bypass Delhi”. Meanwhile, Delhi’s environment minister Imran Hussain called for strict dust control at construction sites and on roads.

The Minister also reviewed action being taken by agencies and departments on the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) . The Centre is also mulling randomised third-party audits of power plants to ensure compliance with norms.


Timely: WB’s $1bn funding to energy storage will be important in bringing more renewable energy online Image credit: Energystoragereport.info

World Bank pledges  $1 billion for renewable storage

In a ‘game changer’ for developing countries, the World Bank has committed $1billion to boost battery storage for renewables at the One Planet summit in New York. The program aims to help create wind and solar grid stability and provide access to electricity. It is expected to raise an additional $3 billion from public and private funds and investors.

China steps up clean energy target

In a huge push, China has increased its renewable energy goals to 35% of total power use by 2030 (from the previous 20%). The new plan seeks to penalize violators to help fund subsidies. BOCI research analysts found the new plan to be ‘more favourable to operators’.

Indian govt forced to extend mega solar manufacturing tender

The state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) was forced to extend a tender deadline yet again as big firms refused to bid for a ‘faulty’ format; the ‘world’s largest’ 10 GW solar plan, comes with 3 GW of compulsory domestic manufacturing.

Bad news for renewables: No priority loans

The government has refused big solar developers’ demand for priority bank loans to fund renewable projects. “There’s enough liquidity in the market for renewables,” the govt said. Banks are reportedly reluctant to fund solar projects over reports questioning their viability and record low tariffs.

Solar industry seeks government clarity on GST rate for its plants

India’s solar industry sought clarity from the government on the GST rate applicable on solar plants, with two state appellate authority rulings backing different rates in Karnataka (5% GST) and Maharashtra (18% GST).The Solar Power Developers Association, which has approached the government to provide clarity, has also pitched for a rate of 5%.

Jaipur ranks 3rd in world’s top renewable cities

Jaipur bagged third place in the world’s top 10 smart renewable cities list, while Bengaluru came in at a close sixth. San Diego, in United States, topped the list, which was part of a latest study conducted by accounting and consultancy firm Deloitte. The report defined smart renewable cities as cities with solar or wind power and a smart city plan that includes a renewable energy component.

Electric Vehicles

March 2019: Delhi is set to induct several all-electric buses into its city fleet, with trial runs starting this month
Image credit: Hindustan Times

Electric buses: Delhi govt. to set up charging infrastructure

The Delhi government will release its first lot of electric buses in March. Officials from the transport department will now begin selecting sites for charging stations. Trial runs of electric busses will begin this October. A previous trial of a Chinese electric bus revealed a lower operating cost compared to CNG-run busses. Bus depots at six locations for the 1,000 electric buses are in the offing.

Incentives for EVs powered by lead-acid batteries withdrawn

The Centre has withdrawn incentives available under FAME I to two- and three-wheelers run on lead-acid batteries and all vehicles that do not need to be registered – from October 1. Instead, the funds will be used to support domestic manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries.

However, benefits to all other EVs under FAME I have been extended till March 31, 2019, unless the scheme is replaced before the date by FAME II, which may offer benefits of up to Rs5,500 crores.

Tata Power, HPCL to jointly set up charging stations

Tata Power and state oil firm Hindustan Petroleum will together set up EV charging stations across India, as they get ‘future ready’ and tap growth in EV charging and storage.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra plans to set up 500 EV chargers across the state in 3-4 years, costing around Rs 2.5 lakh each. It also  plans to  get 1,000 electric vehicles to be used by the government in the next one year.

JSW plans to make electric car worth Rs.12-15 lakh

General Motors will sell its last remaining car plant in Pune to Sajjan Jindal’s JSW for about ₹ 3,500 crore and completely exit the India market. JSW plans to make electric cars at the plant in Talegaon, near Pune, and sell them for Rs12-15 lakh each.

Paris Auto Show: Audi, Mercedes electric cars to challenge Tesla

The Paris Auto Show opens on October 4, with Audi and Mercedes electric car debutants threatening Tesla Model S and Model X. But it may not be a fast ride to the top for electric cars as  Morgan Stanley cut its forecast for their global sales to 9.6% in 2025 from the previous 9.7%, while its prediction for 2030 has been hauled back to 23.1% from 26%.

EU to set  CO2 standards on cars, vans

The European Union (EU) will decide on CO2 standards for cars and vans. This is part of its larger plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 or even earlier. This will have a big impact on the EU’s ability to stay ahead in the global race to a clean transport future, the health of EU citizens and the environment, experts said.

Top German automakers halt sales of some plug-in hybrid cars amidst new EU emission norms

Volkswagen AG, BMW AG,  and Daimler AG-owned Mercedes-Benz have halted sales of their plug-in hybrid cars in Europe in the wake of new emission regulations. The new Worldwide Harmonized Light Duty Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) regime, which came into effect on September 1, gives higher CO2 readings than the old New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) system, pushing vehicles into a higher tax bracket. This has prompted some automakers from withholding some non-conforming vehicles from their showrooms.

Germany to miss target of one million EVs by 2020

Germany will miss its target of having 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2020 by two years, German chancellor Angela Merkel said. The one billion euro ($1.2 billion) subsidies to push electric vehicles’ may have boosted sales, but cannot go on forever, Merkel said. The subsidy helped more than double sales last year.

 California to almost double EV subsidy

California is set to decide on increasing its current $2,500 EV subsidy to $4,500 for each pure electric vehicle sold in the state, even as customers from Tesla and GM face the loss of even bigger federal credits. The federal government now offers a $7,500 tax credit on electric vehicles sold.

Fossil Fuels

Finally: Standard Chartered has quit funding new coal power after acknowledging its role in driving climate change | Image credit: BusinessAMLive

Standard Chartered to quit direct financing of new coal power, joined by CANDRIAM

Standard Chartered PLC has announced it will stop financing any new coal-fired power capacity – anywhere in the world – and instead pivot to renewables and low-carbon alternatives. It will nevertheless continue supporting its existing coal power commitments, to which it has extended $1.8 billion in finance since 2010.

European asset management firm CANDRIAM – with roughly €108bn in assets – will also divest its coal holdings by December 2018. It has cited coal as “the first stranded asset in an energy transition pathway”.

Study finds India may be worst affected by CO2 emissions-driven climate change

A new study has found that India stands to suffer the worst economic losses from CO2 emissions-driven climate change. It also found India to have the highest country-level social cost of carbon (SCC) amongst the 200 nations it studied – at Rs6,267/tonne. The study has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

With its economic losses pegged at Rs6,235/tonne of CO2 emitted, India is estimated to have lost nearly Rs5.8 lakh crores in FY 17 ($87 billion) – with 929 million tonnes of CO2 emitted by its thermal power sector alone.

Tamil Nadu to import 20L tonnes of coal even after announcing draft solar policy

Tamil Nadu has invited urgent tenders to import 20 lakh tonnes of coal – from wherever available – to keep its urban thermal power plants from shutting down. The state is facing a coal supply crisis that has coincided with output from its wind power stations falling to zero on September 9.

Counter-intuitively – or perhaps to wean itself off of fluctuating coal supplies – Tamil Nadu has also released its draft solar policy, through which it aims to have 8.9GW of installed capacity by 2022. Its capacity stood at 1.8GW in May ‘18, which IEEFA had predicted could reach 13.8GW by 2028.

The draft policy could help the state achieve the target on time. It will also determine feed-in tariffs to help meet more of Tamil Nadu’s peak power demands through solar energy.

China adding 259GW of new coal power plants despite rising emissions: Report

Environment group CoalSwarm’s new report, Tsunami Warning, has alleged that China is building 259GW of new coal-fired power stations, despite having posted a rise in CO2 emissions in 2017 & 2018.

The apparent surge will build upon China’s existing 993GW of coal power capacity, and could exceed its government-mandated cap of expanding up to 1,100 GW by 2020 – unless its regional governments are reined in, the report says. However, some analysts suggest the new plants may be much cleaner than the emissions-heavy ones they are supposedly replacing.

US oil giants  pledge $300 million towards carbon-reduction efforts

Chevron, ExxonMobil and Occidental Petroleum have announced they will join the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) and have pledged $300 million towards supporting research into reducing global carbon emissions. The announcement is a reversal of their earlier decision not to join the OGCI, and comes with ExxonMobil’s CEO even acknowledging that climate change posed societal and financial risks.

The decision is very likely influenced by the trio’s shareholders demanding that the firms minimize the climate risks of their operations. However it contradicts the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine any concerted climate action, which has proposed relaxing greenhouse gas emission reduction norms for US oil and gas firms.