New Delhi: The third part of the sixth assessment report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will, for the first time, include chapters on the development and transfer of technology to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, authors of the report revealed last week.
“We do have material on carbon dioxide removal; that is, taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, as well as reducing emissions, and that’s a much bigger emphasis from previously,” said Jim Skea, co-chair of the report’s Working Group 3 and professor at Imperial College London, in a media briefing last week.
The issue of carbon capture and removal technologies has been a matter of debate, with climate activists saying it reduces the pressure on developed economies to cut their dependence on fossil fuels. Several of these technologies are still in development.
In the media briefing, the authors of the report stated that it was “unequivocal” that emissions accelerated climate change, and that carbon removal was one of many strategies assessed.
Negotiations on the Summary for Policymakers — a document containing key findings of the report — between scientists and governments of the world are currently underway and they will go through it line by line, before agreeing upon the final text.
The sixth assessment report of the IPCC includes contributions by three working groups, and while the repots of the first and second groups were released in April 2021 and February 2022, the third is to be released on 4 April.
The previous two reports had warned that global temperatures had already risen 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial levels, and that if drastic changes weren’t made now, adapting to climate change will become harder.
The report of Working Group 3 will deal with climate change mitigation.
Crossing 1.5-degree limit
The new report will also look more closely at the link between societal behaviours and climate mitigation.
“What we are looking at is how the different social actors, say, for example, a citizen, an individual, a professional, what they can bring on board in terms of mitigation, and how they can contribute,” said Joyashree Roy, professor at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and lead author of one of the chapters of the report.
Both the Working Group 1 and 2 reports had warned that unless drastic cuts in emissions were made immediately, temperatures would cross the limit set by the Paris Agreement — 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels — within the next two decades.
Authors of the Working Group 3 report said it would be difficult to predict what mitigation strategies could look like if the 1.5 degree-mark were to be crossed.
“It’s not impossible (to stay within the 1.5 degree limit),” said Skea, adding, “The next time an IPCC report comes out, we might be very close to or beyond the 1.5 level. But that isn’t baked in yet, because we can actually take immediate action and make rapid drastic reductions.”
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)