Climate change

IPCC’s climate change mitigation scenario is inequitable, pre-COP27 study finds

The scenarios envisaged by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius are highly inequitable, as rich countries will continue to occupy the largest share of the carbon budget, said a new guidance document released days before the UN conference. climate change summit, COP27, which opened on Sunday in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.

The policy brief, prepared by the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) Climate Change Program and the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) Energy, Environment and Climate Change Program, was released Thursday.

The analysis indicates that the scenarios envisaged by the IPCC for global mitigation pathways project a highly unequal future world that perpetuates most inequalities. He also underlined the need for new emissions modeling frameworks that are fair to all and not just to some developed countries.

The team assessed 367 of the 700 scenarios considered by the IPCC AR6 which correspond to temperature targets of 1.5 and 2 degrees C for their analysis. These scenarios were assessed by the IPCC’s Working Group III for its Sixth Assessment Report titled: ‘Climate Change 2022: Mitigating Climate Change’ published in April this year.

According to the brief, GDP and per capita consumption in developed countries are projected to be disproportionately higher than those in developing and least developed regions until 2050. He said that Annex I countries (developed and industrialized) continue to capture a disproportionate share of the global carbon budget in all scenario categories until net zero emissions are achieved globally.

“Emission reductions for developing regions from 2020 to 2030 are comparable to or greater than reductions for developed regions,” he added.

In the C1 scenario (in which warming is projected to be limited to 1.5°C, with a probability of 50% or more), all developing regions will start reducing their emissions in 2020, alongside developed regions. In other scenarios, the peak year is slightly delayed by more than a decade. As the carbon budget increases slightly from the 1.5°C target to the 2°C target, GDP and consumption per capita in developed countries are expected to be disproportionately higher, according to the brief.

“The scenarios do not take into account the future energy needs of the countries of the South necessary to achieve development goals. Primary energy consumption is expected to increase for all developed regions (except Europe) and decrease for all developing regions (except for the slight increase in sub-Saharan Africa),” tweeted Tejal Kanitkar, paper co-author and associate professor, School of Natural Sciences & Engineering, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, on Friday.

“Per capita fossil fuel consumption in developed regions continues to remain higher. Even coal use in North America is projected to be higher in 2050 compared to Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Oil and gas use remains high in developed countries… The continued use of fossil fuels in developed countries is facilitated by higher CO2 sequestration in developing countries. In all models and scenarios, at least over 65% (often more) of sequestration occurs in developing countries,” she tweeted.

Scenario analysis also suggests that in 2050, a significant level of inequality persists in GDP per capita between developed and developing regions. With the exception of China, in the C1 scenario, GDP per capita in the rest of the world in 2050 is limited to USD 27,000 – maximum USD 35,000 and for South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa is limited to even lower levels at USD 17-20,000 and USD 9-11,000 respectively. North America and Pacific OECD countries dominate GDP per capita even in 2050. The North American region is projected to have the highest per capita energy consumption in 2050, in all scenarios. It is expected to consume about 6-7 times more energy than Sub-Saharan Africa and 5-6 times more energy than South Asia in 2050.

“The scenarios used by the IPCC focus on global scenarios with regional trajectories. They had published the database of the scenarios considered and we analyzed 367 of them. These have various variables for 10 regions of the world, including economic and energy variables, carbon sequestration combined. These built-in valuation models perpetuate a least-cost optimization structure. Basically, they tell you where is it cheapest to mitigate emissions and how. According to these models which are climate models coupled with economic models, it is cheaper not to let us grow,” said Tejal Kanitkar.

The analysis indicates that the IPCC has already made it clear in its Sixth Assessment Report that most of the scenarios considered do not make explicit assumptions about global equity, environmental justice or intra-regional income distribution. HT wrote to the IPCC on Friday asking for a response on the conclusions of the analysis and how equity can be incorporated into the scenarios considered. The IPCC has not yet responded to the brief’s findings.