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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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2014 SkS News Bulletin #3: IPCC Report (WG III)

Posted on 15 April 2014 by John Hartz

Averting catastrophe is eminently affordable

Catastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing living standards according to a UN report, which concludes that the transformation required to a world of clean energy is eminently affordable. “It doesn’t cost the world to save the planet,” said economist Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, who led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) team.

The cheapest and least risky route to dealing with global warming is to abandon all dirty fossil fuels in coming decades, the report found. Gas – including that from the global fracking boom – could be important during the transition, Edenhofer said, but only if it replaced coal burning.

IPCC climate change report: averting catastrophe is eminently affordable by Damian Carrington, The Guardian, Apr 13, 2014

Climate experts sound the alarm

In spite of all efforts, the global community has not been successful in reducing its climate-damaging carbon dioxide emissions. Quite the opposite: emissions of greenhouse gases between the years 2000 and 2010 grew more than in any decade since 1970. The findings are part of the newest report from the United Nations' expert Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has been released in Berlin. In spite of the dire outlook, the authors have named their report "Mitigation of Climate Change". With that, the authors, including German scientist Ottmar Edenhofer, wanted to emphasize that it was still possible to turn the situation around. The analysis and recommendations for action, which have now been submitted to politicians, are the third part of a comprehensive account on climate change. The first part was made public in Stockholm last year, the second report a few weeks ago in Yokohama.

Climate experts sound the alarm by Marcel Fürstenau. Deutsche Welle (DW), April 14, 2014 

Climate protection a 'task that can be solved'

Deutsche Welle: You've had an eye on the climate process for many years. The IPCC's warnings are not new, and strategies to solve the problems exist. Why have politicians not managed to implement them?

Ottmar Edenhofer: Climate policies are extremely difficult. I've just spent a week in plenary sessions, grappling with more than 110 governments. It's like facing a global parliament, and once you let that sink in, you realize very quickly how difficult global cooperation is.

Edenhofer: Climate protection a 'task that can be solved' by Jessie Wingard, Deutsche Welle (DW), April 14, 2014

Climate report finds UN emissions target not out of reach

Annual emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases must drop 40-70 percent by 2050 to keep the global temperature rise below the 2-degree Celsius (3.6-degree F), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announced in a report released Sunday. So far, the opposite has happened: On average global emissions rose by 1 billion tons a year between 2000 and 2010, outpacing growth in previous decades to reach "unprecedented levels" despite some efforts to contain them, the IPCC announced.

"There is a clear message from science," IPCC co-chair Ottmar Edenhofer said. "To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual."

According to scientists, failure to meet the 2-degree target could lead to further droughts, rising seas and heat waves. The IPCC adopted its 33-page summary at a weeklong session in Berlin to help guide the nearly 200 governments negotiating a new climate agreement for next year.

IPCC climate report from Berlin finds UN emissions target not out of reach, Deutsche Welle (DW) Apr 14, 2014 

IPCC report summary censored by governments around the world

A major climate report presented to the world was censored by the very governments who requested it, frustrating and angering some of its lead authors.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Sunday released the "summary for policymakers" in Berlin, intended to be a palatable synopsis of the technical conclusions of more than 200 experts on how to stop runaway global warming – and what that would cost.

However entire paragraphs, plus graphs showing where carbon emissions have been increasing the fastest, were deleted from the summary during a week’s debate prior to its release. Other sections had their meaning and purpose significantly diluted. They were victims of a bruising skirmish between governments in the developed and developing world over who should shoulder the blame for, and the responsibility for fixing, climate change.

IPCC report summary censored by governments around the world by Nick Miller, Sydney Morning Herald, Apr 14, 2014

'Modest hope' to slow warming, but no 'free lunch,' U.N. warns

Keeping global warming down to a level people can live with means cutting carbon emissions to "near zero" by the end of the century, even in an increasingly industrialized world, the top U.N. experts on the issue reported Sunday.

That may be doable, but it will take "substantial investments" in everything from planting more trees to replacing fossil fuels with low-carbon power sources like solar, wind and nuclear energy, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced in its latest report.

"What this report clearly shows is that the challenges to resolve the global common problem are huge," said Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and one of the lead authors of Sunday's document. "But also this report shows that there are some steps to resolve this issue. I would say in that sense the report also outlines the challenges, but it provides hope — modest hope." 

'Modest hope' to slow warming, but no 'free lunch,' U.N. warns by Matt Smith, CNN, Apr 13, 2014

Nations’ handling of new IPCC report presages divisions in treaty effor

There’s an important back story — on how the final two days of negotiations between the report authors and government officials reflect global divisions that will only intensify as the world’s rich and developing countries wrangle over a new climate treaty that is supposed to emerge in late 2015.

Under rules created when the climate panel was established in 1988, governments have to approve the final summary for policy makers word by word and unanimously. The detailed and voluminous underlying reports are not touched. What this means is that the summaries — in what remains and what is lost — indicate what you can foresee in the parallel treaty process.

Nations’ Handling of New Climate Report Presages Divisions in Treaty Effort by Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth, New York Times, Apr 13, 2014

Reactions to the final installment of the IPCC analysis

The final instalment in the trilogy of climate change reports from the IPCC is released today. And there's some good news: the world can afford to transition to clean energy and climate change can be averted without sacrificing our living standards.

Here are the key points from the report:

• The cheapest and best way to avoid catastrophic climate change is to abandon fossil fuels over the next 10 years. Clean energy would have to treble in output by 2050.

• Fracking could be an important intermediary measure as the energy mix moves to become cleaner, but only if coal is abandoned.

• Fears that cutting carbon would destroy the economy were dismissed. The report calculated that moving from fossil fuels to renewables would reduce expected annual economic growth rates by 0.06%.

We've collected reactions from thought leaders and experts here. 

Climate change report: reactions to the final instalment of the IPCC analysis by Laura Paddison, Guardian Sustainable Business Blog, The Guardian, Apr 14, 2014

The top 10 ways to avert a climate catastrophe

The third and final installment of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment on climate change dropped Sunday in Berlin, and it provides what’s arguably the most important piece of the puzzle: After establishing the science behind climate change and its current and future impact on life as we know it, it now lays out what can — and must — be done to slow warming down.

It’s not going to be easy: The 1,250 experts who wrote the report concluded that in order to avoid what’s generally agreed to be catastrophic warming,  by 2050 global greenhouse gas emissions are going to have to drop to about 40 to 70 percent of what they were in 2010. By the end of the century, they’ll have to be at zero, or possibly even less than that (more on that below).

IPCC report: The top 10 ways to avert a climate catastrophe by Lindsay Abrams, Salon, Apr 14, 2014

UN climate report balances science and politics

After racing against the clock in an all-night session, the U.N.’s expert panel on climate change was putting the final touches Saturday on a scientific guide to help governments, industries and regular people take action to stop global warming from reaching dangerous levels.

As always when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change adopts one of its high-profile reports, the weeklong talks in Berlin were slowed by wrangling between scientists and governments over which words, charts and tables to use in the roughly 30-page summary of a much bigger scientific report.

The painstaking process is meant to clarify the complex world of climate science to non-scientists but it also reflects the brinksmanship that characterizes international talks on climate action — so far unsuccessful in their goal to stop the rise of man-made carbon emissions blamed for global warming.

UN climate report balances science and politics, AP/Washington Post, Apr 12, 2014

U.N. report spells out super-hard things we must do to curb warming

Hooboy, it’s gonna get hot. A U.N. climate panel on Sunday painted a sizzling picture of the staggering volume of greenhouse gases we’ve been pumping into the atmosphere — and what will happen to the planet if we keep this shit up.

By 2100, surface temperatures will be 3.7 to 4.8 degrees C (6.7 to 8.7 F) warmer than prior to the Industrial Revolution. That’s far worse than the goal the international community is aiming for — to keep warming under 2 C (3.7 F). The U.N.’s terrifying projection assumes that we keep on burning fossil fuels as if nothing mattered, like we do now, leading to carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere of between 750 and 1,300 parts per million by 2100. A few centuries ago, CO2 levels were a lovely 280 ppm, and many scientists say we should aim to keep them at 350 ppm, but we’re already above 400

U.N. report spells out super-hard things we must do to curb warming by John Upton, Grist, Apr 14, 2014

U.S. urges IPCC to be less boring, try this whole “online” thing

Thousands of scientists volunteer to review research published by thousands of other scientists – part of an effort to pack all of the latest and best climate science into assessment reports from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But anybody who takes the time to read these reports is in danger of being bored to tears — even before they break down in tears over the scale of the damage that we’re inflicting on humanity and our planet.

After publishing five mammoth reports during its quarter-century of existence, the IPCC is facing an existential crisis. How can it reinvent its aging self – and its dry scientific reports — to better serve the warming world?

The U.S. is clear on what the IPCC needs to do: It needs to get with the times.

U.S. urges IPCC to be less boring, try this whole “online” thing by John Upton, Grist, Apr 14, 2014

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