Part III of Six Assessment Report: IPCC


    In News 

    • The 56th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) approved the Summary for PolicyMakers (SPM) of the Working Group III contribution to the Sixth Assessment Cycle (AR6 WGIII) titled ‘Mitigation of Climate Change’.

    Major Highlights of the report 

    • Updated global assessment:
      • It  provides an updated global assessment of climate change mitigation  progress and pledges, and examines the sources of global emissions.
      •  It explains developments in  emission reduction and mitigation efforts, assessing the impact of national climate pledges in  relation to long-term emissions goals.
    •  Greenhouse gas emissions: 
      • In 2010-2019 average annual global greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest levels in human history, but the rate of growth has slowed.
        • Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is beyond reach. 
          • However, there is increasing evidence of climate action.
    • Costs of solar and wind energy, and batteries:
      • Since 2010, there have been sustained decreases of up to 85% in the costs of solar and wind energy, and batteries. 
        • An increasing range of policies and laws have enhanced energy efficiency, reduced rates of deforestation and accelerated the deployment of renewable energy.
    •  Countries were falling behind:
      • It found that countries were falling behind on the policies and actions needed to reach net zero emissions, and in current form could see temperatures rise by as much as 3C, a catastrophic level. 


    • Drastic changes will be needed to all aspects of the global economy and society, to phase out dependence on fossil fuels.
    • To achieve 1.5 degrees Celsius, the world must reduce annual CO2 emissions by 48 per cent by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 (India has opted for a net zero target of 2070) while reducing methane emissions a third by 2030 and almost halving them by 2050. 
    • Retrofitting existing fossil fuel assets with carbon capture and storage (CCS) is being proposed as one option to reduce the amount of emissions already locked in by existing infrastructure.
    • Limiting global warming will require major transitions in the energy sector. 
      • This will involve a substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency, and use of alternative fuels (such as hydrogen).
    • Cities and other urban areas also offer significant opportunities for emissions reductions.  
      • These can be achieved through lower energy consumption (such as by creating compact, walkable cities), electrification of transport in combination with low-emission energy sources, and enhanced carbon uptake and storage using nature.
      •  There are options for established, rapidly growing and new cities.
    • Reducing emissions in industry will involve using materials more efficiently, reusing and recycling products and minimising waste.
    • Agriculture, forestry, and other land use can provide large-scale emissions reductions and also remove and store carbon dioxide at scale. 
    • Mitigation in industry can reduce environmental impacts and increase employment and business opportunities. 
    • Electrification with renewables and shifts in public transport can enhance health, employment, and equity.
    • The developed countries – especially China, the United States, and the European Union – must significantly ramp up their climate mitigation efforts as these three big emitters alone would consume 45 per cent of the available carbon space by 2030 under a business-as-usual scenario.”

    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

    • An intergovernmental body of the United Nations (UN).
    • Established by World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988
    • Membership: Open for all the members of the WMO and UN.
    •  Function of IPCC:
      • It provides objective scientific information in order to understand human- induced climate change. 
        • It also covers natural, political & economic impacts of these anthropogenic climate changes and possible response options.
      • Its main activity is to prepare Assessment Reports, special reports, and methodology reports assessing the state of knowledge of climate change.
        • However, the IPCC does not itself engage in scientific research. Instead, it asks scientists from around the world to go through all the relevant scientific literature related to climate change and draw up the logical conclusions.
      • It does not monitor climate or related phenomena itself.

    Assessment Reports

    • The IPCC’s Assessment Reports (ARs), which are produced every few years, are the most comprehensive and widely accepted scientific evaluations of the state of the Earth’s climate. 
    • They form the basis for government policies to tackle climate change, and provide the scientific foundation for the international climate change negotiations.
      • Six Assessment Reports have been published so far
        •  The sixth report (AR6) is coming in three parts — the first in August 2021, the second in February 2022, and the third recently .
          • The first part of AR6 flagged more intense and frequent heat-waves, increased incidents of extreme rainfall, a dangerous rise in sea-levels, prolonged droughts, and melting glaciers — and said that 1.5 degrees Celsius warming was much closer than was thought earlier, and also inevitable.
          • The second part warned that multiple climate change-induced disasters were likely in the next two decades even if strong action was taken to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.
    • What previous reports have said
      • First Assessment Report
        • The first Assessment Report (1990) noted that emissions resulting from human activities are substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.
        •  Global temperatures have risen by 0.3 to 0.6 degree Celsius in the last 100 years. 
        • In the business-as-usual scenario, temperatures were likely to increase by 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels by 2025, and 4 degrees Celsius by 2100. Sea levels were likely to rise by 65 cm by 2100.
          • This report formed the basis for the negotiation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992, known as the Rio Summit.
    • The second Assessment Report (1995):
      • It  revised the projected rise in global temperatures to 3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100, and sea-level rise to 50 cm, in light of more evidence. Global rise in temperature by 0.3 to 0.6 degree Celsius since the late 19th century was “unlikely to be entirely natural in origin”, it said.
      • AR2 was the scientific underpinning for the Kyoto Protocol of 1997.
    • The third Assessment Report (2001)
      • It  revised the projected rise in global temperatures to 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius by 2100 compared to 1990. 
      • The projected rate of warming was unprecedented in the last 10,000 years, it said. 
      • The report predicted increased rainfall on average, and that by 2100, sea levels were likely to rise by as much as 80 cm from 1990 levels.
      • Glaciers would retreat during the 21st century, and the frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme weather events would increase, it said. The report presented new and stronger evidence to show global warming was mostly attributable to human activities.
    • The fourth Assessment Report (2007) :
      • It said greenhouse gas emissions increased by 70 per cent between 1970 and 2004, and atmospheric concentrations of CO2 in 2005 (379 ppm) were the most in 650,000 years. 
      • In the worst-case scenario, global temperatures could rise 4.5 degrees Celsius by 2100 from pre-industrial levels, and sea levels could be 60 cm higher than 1990 levels.
      • The report won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for IPCC. It was the scientific input for the 2009 Copenhagen climate meeting.
    • The fifth Assessment Report (2014)
      • It  said more than half the temperature rise since 1950 was attributable to human activities, and that the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide were “unprecedented” in the last 800,000 years.
      • The rise in global temperatures by 2100 could be as high as 4.8 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times, and more frequent and longer heat waves were “virtually certain”. A “large fraction of species” faced extinction, and food security would be undermined.
      • AR5 formed the scientific basis for negotiations of the Paris Agreement in 2015.