From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : IPCC
Mains level : Paper 3- What IPCC report seeks to convery
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). It is the first of four that the Panel will issue over the next one and a half years.
What does the report say?
- Global surface temperature is now higher by 1.07oC since the pre-industrial era.
- The impact of climate change on the atmosphere, oceans and land is unmistakably of human origin and this impact is picking up pace.
- Carbon dioxide is the dominant source of warming.
- Aerosols contribute to reducing the impact of warming by other greenhouse gases, by almost a third.
- Methane reduction, while needed overall, is particularly significant only as part of the endgame as the drastic reduction of aerosols actually leads to an increase in warming.
- The report expectedly projects an increase in climate extremes due to global warming, with heatwaves, extreme rainfall events and occurrence of extreme sea levels all expected to intensify and be more frequent.
- A major finding of the report is that air pollution reduction and steep climate change mitigation are not complementary goals but require independent efforts over the short and medium-term
- With the inclusion of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology’s Earth System Model among the climate models used in AR6, India too has joined the climate modelling fraternity.
About the net-zero emission targets
- The report’s clear message is that reaching net zero was not the determining factor for the world to limit itself to a 1.5oC , or 2oC, or indeed any specific temperature increase.
- The report is clear that it is the cumulative emissions in reaching net zero that determine the temperature rise.
- India’s Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change was quick to note this point about net zero in a statement, adding that “historical cumulative emissions are the cause of the climate crisis that the world faces today”
- The limitations of the remaining carbon budget for 1.5oC are so stringent — a mere 500 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide for an even chance of keeping to the limit — that they cannot be met by promises of net-zero 30 years from now.
- Equally, the disconcerting finding is that the world is set to cross the 1.5oC limit within 10-15 years.
Implications for India
- India has contributed less than 5% of global cumulative emissions to date, with per capita annual emissions a third of the global average.
- India is also the only nation among the G20 with commitments under the Paris Agreement that are even 2oC warming-compatible.
- India needs its development space urgently to cope with the future, one where global temperature increase may be closer to 2oC.
- Even if India completely stops its emission which is 3 billion tonnes in carbon dioxide equivalent terms, for the next 30 years, with others’ emissions remaining the same, will buy the world less than two years of additional time for meeting the Paris Agreement temperature goals.
- Equity: Focusing on definite cumulative emission targets keeping equity and historical responsibility in view,
- Immediate reduction by developed countries: Immediate emission reductions by the developed countries with phase-out dates for all fossil fuels.
- Investment: Massive investment in new technologies and their deployment,
- Climate finance: a serious push to the mobilisation of adequate climate finance is the need of the hour.
This is the message that the IPCC report has sent to this year’s climate summit and the world. The message is a dire warning, all the stakeholders should heed the warning.