"The benefits of climate protection clearly exceed its costs": breaking IPCC WG3 AR6 report

04/04/2022 - Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 3 published its 6th Assessment Report on climate mitigation.
"The benefits of climate protection clearly exceed its costs": breaking IPCC WG3 AR6 report

On this issue, Elmar Kriegler, a lead author of the IPCC report's chapter "Mitigation pathways compatible with long-term goals" as well as a contributing author of the report's summary for policy makers (SPM). He is co-chair of the Transformation Pathways Research Department at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research:

"Getting the scientific community and governments to agree on the report's summary for policymakers wasn't easy – which shows one thing above all: it's decision time now. The report is not just words, it calls for action, and it's good that governments now recognize this. For example, we need to phase out coal worldwide. After all, the existing and planned coal-fired power plants alone would consume the budget of CO2 emissions still possible under the 1.5°C target during their operational life span.

The costs of climate protection are economically absolutely feasible when examined on a global scale and over generations. But those costs vary greatly from region to region. CO2-intensive developing countries may face high costs. The winners are efficient industrialized countries like Germany, which are currently still importing fossil fuels but will convert. That is why a fair balance is crucial, not only within individual countries but also internationally. Because one thing is clear: The benefits of climate protection clearly exceed its costs."

Alexander Popp, lead author in the chapter on land use and head of the research group on land use management at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, also comments:

"Agriculture, forests, nature can make important contributions to limit climate change. The new IPCC report shows that proper land-use management can even be one of the most cost-effective measures - that is, with a lot of impact for relatively little money. What we do in fields and forests contributes a hefty 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Reducing livestock farming, protecting and reforesting forests, and preserving and rewetting peatlands, for example, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What's more, soils and plants can even take CO2 back out of the atmosphere. Of course, we must also develop and apply technologies that expand renewable energies. But only if we also ensure targeted and sustainable land management and protection of nature can we achieve the goal of net zero emissions by mid-century."

Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and former co-chair of the IPCC´s working group 3 that published its report in 2014:

"The report shows more clearly than ever that that we have not bent the curve of greenhouse gas emissions downward; we have only somewhat flattened its rise. But as emissions rise, so do climate risks, and the measures taken so far are too weak. That's why we need new policies - and in the face of Russian aggression, these policies must combine energy security and climate security. Only with a strong carbon price can we stop the comeback of coal and at the same time diversify our energy sources and generate revenue for the necessary social compensation to cushion high energy costs.

In Germany and Europe, the pricing of emissions must not be weakened; in the world, Europe, China and the US should form a climate club and agree on a minimum carbon pricing. The report shows that half of the emission reductions necessary worldwide can be achieved with technologies that would already be profitable at a CO2 price of below 100 euros per tonne. This is something that is already within reach today. Now politics must take that opportunity."

Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research with regard to future impacts:

"Nature can and indeed must be part of the solution to the climate crisis. Clearer than ever before, we see that protecting ecosystems, reforestation and sustainable agriculture are key elements to bring down the dangerously high greenhouse gas levels in our atmosphere. We of course need to urgently transform our energy systems, we need clean tech, yet only a nature positive pathway can bring us to net zero emissions by mid-century."

Link to the AR6 Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change



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