“We must also take new paths in climate protection”

Statements from MCC on the report “Mitigation of Climate Change” published today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, part 3 of the Sixth Assessment Report.

IPCC: Since 1990, the body has now published six Assessment Reports to inform policymakers about the state of knowledge on the climate crisis and climate policy. | Photo: AdobeStock/PostmodernStudio

04.04.2022

After eight years, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today published the next major assessment of climate policy, the report "Mitigating Climate Change", as the third volume of the Sixth Assessment Report. Two group leaders from the Berlin-based climate research institute MCC (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change) were each in charge of an important chapter as Coordinating Lead Authors. Statements from MCC on this report:

Ottmar Edenhofer, MCC Director and Co-Chair of the previous IPCC Mitigating Climate Change report in 2014, comments: "The report shows more clearly than ever that we have not bent the curve of greenhouse gas emissions downward; we have only somewhat flattened their increase. As emissions rise, so do climate risks, and the measures taken so far are too weak. Hence we need new policies – and in the face of Russian aggression, these policies must combine energy security and climate security. Only with a strong pricing of CO2 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 and China and the US should form a climate club and agree on a minimum price. The report shows that half of the emission reductions that are necessary worldwide can be achieved with technologies that would already be profitable at a carbon price of below 100 euros per tonne. This is something that is already within reach today. Time to take action."

Jan Minx, head of the MCC working group Applied Sustainability Science and lead author of the new IPCC report’s Chapter 2 “Emissions trends and drivers”, comments: “Our report shows that there is a gap between the nationally determined contributions for climate protection and what is needed to limit global warming to 2 or even 1.5 degrees Celsius. Closing this gap will require greater efforts throughout the world, including removals of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. There have been glimmers of hope over the last decade. Emissions growth has slowed, more countries have reduced emissions over a period of ten years or more – and some key technologies, such as solar panels and batteries, have developed much further than expected. But the level of emissions has continued to rise over the last decade, reaching record heights across all greenhouse gases and all sectors. The existing and planned fossil fuel-based infrastructure is not compatible with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. The resulting path dependencies must be broken, especially in the power sector, through runtime reductions, lower capacity utilisation, and a moratorium on the construction of new coal-fired power plants, unless fitted with carbon capture and storage technology. The next ten years will show whether the glass is half empty or half full."

Felix Creutzig, head of the MCC working group Land Use, Infrastructure and Transport and lead author of the new IPCC report’s chapter 5 “Demand, services and social aspects of mitigation”, comments: "The supply of renewable energy and energy-efficient production is only one side of climate mitigation. We must also take new paths. Our report is the first comprehensive IPCC assessment of what demand-side climate solutions can contribute by addressing energy use behaviour in mobility, housing, and diet. Even in the short term, such changes have the potential to reduce respective emissions by 5 percent if the state invests in economic incentives, new infrastructures, information, and education. And a quick shift is crucial to prevent bad economic choices now, which could decisively increase dependency on fossil fuels for decades to come. By the middle of the century, demand-side solutions could save as much as 40 to 70 percent of emissions. An important entry point is a changed design of street space to accommodate different modes of mobility. When considering the feasibility of such solutions, it is important to realise that in the vast majority of cases, rather than causing suffering or hardship, they can improve the quality of life.”

 

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