The report of IPCC WGIII, Mitigation of climate change, is now out.
The Summary for Policymakers (released on April 13) starts with a useful definition of what they mean by mitigation: “Mitigation is a human intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases.” But the first of the key points listed sets the tone of vague waffle and political correctness: “Sustainable development and equity provide a basis for assessing climate policies and highlight the need for addressing the risks of climate change”. There is talk of “value judgements” and “other societal goals”.
The report claims that without mitigation we will have a temperature rise of 3.7 to 4.8°C by 2100 (relative to “pre-industrial”) of which we have had 0.6°C. In other words they are predicting 3.1 to 4.2°C rise this century. They even claim “high confidence” in this statement. The fact that there has been no temperature rise at all over the first 1/7th of the century does not seem to be a concern to the IPCC authors, since they don’t mention it. There is an excessively long account of different scenarios and the associated claimed temperature rises. When it comes to the details of what mitigation actually means, the report is very vague. There is talk of energy efficiency and behaviour changes. Nuclear power is mentioned, but very hesitantly, with a list of of “barriers and risks”. The report is also rather hesitant about CCS, saying only that it could reduce emissions. They are surprisingly positive about switching from coal to gas, describing it as a “bridge technology”. There is a final section on “International cooperation” that is very vague, saying that the Kyoto Protocol “offers lessons”.
The BBC discusses the WGIII report under World must end ‘dirty’ fuel use. The Guardian reported the press conference and summarised responses from carefully selected on-message commentators, and then issues a desperate self-righteous call to arms from Leo Hickman. The Mail picks up on the surprising IPCC endorsement of gas and fracking. Robert Wilson criticises the report, saying that “the IPCC needs a good kick up the arse”, in regard to what it says about bio-energy. James Delingpole says that the report is ordering us to give up meat, coal, oil, growth and sovereignty.
When the SPM was first released, it was directly available. But on 15 April, the following bizarre statement was placed on the page: The designations employed and the presentation of material on maps do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. In order to get the SPM, you have to click “I agree” to proceed.
The main report was published a couple of days later, 15 April. Again, you have to “agree” to the disclaimer to get access to the full report. There are 16 chapters, starting off with the vague concepts mentioned above (“Sustainable Development and Equity”) and going on to the more specific topics of Energy, Transport, Buildings and Industry.
One point of note is that in the Introductory chapter 1 there is a section
1.4.5 Rising Attention to Adaptation
that says: “For a long time, nearly all climate policy has focused on mitigation. Now, with some change in climate inevitable (and a lot more likely) there has been a shift in emphasis to adaptation”. Andrew Lilico and Robin Guenier might be interested to see this.