The IPCC Working Group III Report on Climate Mitigation in 11 Tweets

The IPCC released the Working Group III summary report for policymakers on Sunday. I wrote about the Working Group II report on impacts on The Monkey CageWorking Group III covers climate mitigation, that is the challenges of reducing greenhouse gases. Tonight, I read through the report and tweeted my sense of the main findings in an 11 part series that I embed below. My short take: there is not nearly enough in the 33 page document on barriers to implementation and international cooperation. I’m really looking forward to the release of the longer chapters. In the meantime, I encourage interested readers to take a look at five sectoral reports from my research group on the Major Economies and Climate Change.

IPCC WG III on mitigation Sum. for Policymakers released Sunday. Best chance for staying below 2°C is 450ppm. pt. 1

— Josh Busby (@busbyj2) April 15, 2014

WGIII pt.2 To stay below 450ppm requires large-scale reductions by midcentury of GHGs: scale-up of efficiency, nuclear, carbon capture. — Josh Busby (@busbyj2) April 15, 2014

WGIII pt. 3 Keeping near 450ppm typically requires C02 removal such as afforestation. “Limited evidence” that can work at scale. — Josh Busby (@busbyj2) April 15, 2014

WGIII. Pt. 4 Cancun pledges “as likely as not” to limit emissions to within 450ppm. Don’t preclude but probably need more robust action.

— Josh Busby (@busbyj2) April 15, 2014

WGIII pt. 5. Stringent climate policy can produce co-benefits for human health, ecosystems, and energy security.

— Josh Busby (@busbyj2) April 15, 2014

WGIII pt. 6 Low-stabilization requires low?carbon electricity (renewables, nukes, & CCS) to increase from current 30% to 80%+ by 2050 — Josh Busby (@busbyj2) April 15, 2014

WGIII pt. 7 CCS hasn’t taken off at scale. Would need regulation or price support to compete with conventional coal. Tho’ Easier than nukes! — Josh Busby (@busbyj2) April 15, 2014

WGIII pt. 8 Rationale for sectoral action: “administrative & political barriers may make economy?wide policies harder to design & implement”

— Josh Busby (@busbyj2) April 15, 2014

WGIII pt. 9 Last section on intl cooperation is pretty general. UNFCCC is universal forum. Proliferation of other forums. Need to read more!

— Josh Busby (@busbyj2) April 15, 2014

WGIII pt. 10 Summary is solid on scenarios/mitigation potential but less to say on barriers & implementation. Need full chapters to dig in. — Josh Busby (@busbyj2) April 15, 2014

WGIII pt. 11 On sectoral implementation challenges and GHG reduction, check out papers from my research group — Josh Busby (@busbyj2) April 15, 2014

I see that Duck contributor Johannes Urpelainen also has a short post up with his reaction. He concludes that the IPCC seems to endorse fossil fuel phaseout. My own sense of the main findings are a little different, the IPCC rather than making any recommendations seems mostly to be reporting on what different studies say would have to happen to keep temperatures and emissions below certain targets. Nonetheless, the clear implication is that the world would have to move away from fossil fuels by century’s end. In the meantime, we need carbon capture and storage, fuel switching to natural gas, and measures to lock up carbon in forests to buy us more time.

Joshua Busby is an Associate Professor of Public Affairs and a Distinguished Scholar at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law. He originally joined the LBJ School faculty in fall 2006 as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer. In 2016, Dr. Busby also joined the Chicago Council on Global Affairs as a non-resident fellow. In 2018, he joined the Center for Climate & Security as a Senior Research Fellow. Busby is the author of several studies on climate change, national security, and energy policy from the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institution, the German Marshall Fund, and CNAS. Busby was one of the lead researchers in the Strauss Center project on Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS), a $7.6 million grant funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. He was also the principal investigator of a Complex Emergencies and Political Stability in Asia (CEPSA), a 3-year $1.9 million project, also funded by the Department of Defense. He has also written on U.S.-China relations on climate change for CNAS, Resources for the Future, and the Paulson Institute.

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