Mongabay- IndiaAugust 6, 2021 13:10:55 IST
Author: S. Gopikrishna Warrier
The expectation of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is almost over, and the report is due to be published on 9 August.
Work has already begun this week online at a meeting of Working Group 1 to approve a summary of policy makers for the WG-1 report. The IPCC, a group of thousands of scientists around the world, provides policy leaders around the world with an assessment of the latest scientific understanding of climate change and its impact on 195 member states and the world.
The IPCC produces an evaluation report every few years, reviewing all the scientific literature published in the years since the last report. The preparation of the report is a two-step process — first, researchers evaluate the latest scientific updates on one of the working group’s topics and then, along with officials, prepare a summary for policy makers in a way that makes it easy for policymakers to make an informed decision to combat climate change.
The assessment report process includes the publication of the reports of three working groups – Working Group I, which deals with the physical scientific basis of climate change; Working Group II on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability; and Working Group III on Climate Change Mitigation.
More simply, the report of Working Group I provides a framework for assessment and reports to the world what science reports on global temperature rise, sea level and deep sea temperatures, sea level rise, glacier melting, etc. These conclusions are presented in the form of high confidence, low confidence, etc.
While the report of Working Group II, expected in February 2022, looks at the effects of climate change and which parts of the world are more vulnerable, it also suggests how nations and communities can adapt or learn to live with climate change.
Working Group III then discusses the measures needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the near, medium and long term to maintain a global temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius during the Industrial Revolution (i.e. 1850-1900) until 2100. All three factors are synthesized in the Synthesis Report and Summary.
How long does the AR6 process take?
The online meeting to finalize the Working Group I report began on July 26 and will continue until August 6. During the meeting, participants review each word and line in the summary. Similar meetings of Working Group II and Working Group III are scheduled for February and March 2022, while meetings related to the organization of the AR6 Final Synthesis Report will be held from September 26 to October 6, 2022.
The report of Working Group I will ensure that the world knows how it has fared in the fight against climate change in recent years ahead of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Climate Change (CoP) in Glasgow in November 2021. A full picture of the IPCC AR6 will not be available until the next cooperation meeting.
How did the IPCC originate and what is its purpose?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide political leaders with periodic scientific assessments of climate change, its impacts and risks, and to present adaptation and mitigation strategies.
In the same year, the UN General Assembly approved the work of WMO and UNEP to jointly establish the IPCC. It currently has 195 Member States. The IPCC published its first assessment in 1990, its second in 1995, its third in 2001, its fourth in 2007 and its fifth in 2014.
The reports are significant and often become the basis for discussion at global climate summits. For example, AR5 was introduced as a basis for discussions at the Paris Conference of the Parties in 2015, which led to the Paris Agreement.
In addition to evaluations, the IPCC produces special reports addressing specific issues. The most famous latest was global warming of 1.5 degrees C in 2018. There was a special report on the ocean and cryosphere (2019) as well as climate change and the earth (2019). Of particular importance to India was the 2012 Special Report on Extreme Event and Disaster Risk Management.
This year’s forthcoming assessment report is significant because 2020 was seen as a milestone in the international climate change negotiations, as it is the year in which the 2015 Paris Agreement entered into force, and the 2020 Summit was seen as a transition between the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.
However, the 2020 summit did not take place worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So the 2021 Glasgow Partner has added value, and therefore the launch of the AR6 process is seen as a suitable curtain raiser for the Glasgow Cooperation Conference later this year. The floods of recent weeks around the world, which many experts see as climate change, can ensure that the AR6 process receives the attention it deserves.
What is the significance of the IPCC assessment reports for India?
As elsewhere in the world, the report of the AR6 Working Group I gives a picture of the reality of climate change in India. So while the IPCC’s AR assessments are global, they help India understand where its development and environmental paths are shifting relative to these climate change realities.
As extreme weather events such as floods and droughts have occurred more and more frequently in recent years, the report provides a trend for the coming years in India, which is considered a key player in the global climate change debate.
There has also been a paradigm shift in India since the Paris Agreement. Prior to the Paris Agreement, India did not have emission reduction targets. Although India is voluntary, it is declared through nationally determined levies, it now has some sort of goal as it promised to reduce its GDP emission intensity by 33-35% by 2030 from 2005 levels.
According to the INDC, India has pledged to move in a climate-friendly and cleaner direction, achieving about 40 percent of cumulative electricity generation from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030, and creating 2.5 to 3 billion more carbon dioxide equivalents of carbon sinks. through forest and tree cover by 2030.
India also pledged to better adapt to climate change by increasing investment in development programs in sectors vulnerable to climate change, in particular agriculture, water resources, the Himalayas, coastal areas, health and disaster management.
Now, six years later, the report of Working Group I is helping India to show its direction against the reality of climate. Working Group II report helps to identify vulnerabilities and opportunities for adaptation. The report of Working Group III will help India fine-tune its mitigation strategies.
In line with its INDC commitment, India has embarked on a process of transition to renewable energy sources. India has reached a capacity of 96.9 GW of 175 GW by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030.
However, India had also announced policy measures to promote coal mining to start the economy after the first COVID-19 lock in 2020. In recent months, India has also been under pressure to declare a year to move to zero emissions.
With the figures presented in the report of Working Group I on 6 August, India will have the opportunity to develop a policy framework and strengthen the fight against climate change.
This article was originally published Mongabay.com.
Mongabay-India is a news service for environmental science and nature conservation. This article has been republished under a Creative Commons license.