CAN Letter: IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5ºC, February 2016

Dear IPCC bureau member:

I am writing on behalf of Climate Action Network (CAN) International a worldwide network of over 950 Non-Governmental Organizations in more than 100 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.

CAN welcomes the invitation by the UNFCCC COP for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to provide in 2018 a Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emissions pathways.

CAN is of the opinion, that  IPCC’s Special Reports play a valuable role in informing the international climate debate and that they should continue to provide solid, science-based, and politically relevant information to support  the UNFCCC. In this regard, it is of utmost importance that the IPCC accepts in its bureau meeting this month in Geneva, the invitation of the COP to provide a special report in 2018.

CAN recognizes that there was limited data available during AR5 for the IPCC to examine 1.5°C scenarios, but since then more research has been published. Also, if the IPCC were to announce a Special Report on this theme, the urgently needed research would surely continue and intensify. Research results that would not be available in time for the Special Report could still inform AR6.

We suggest that the Special Report requested by the COP would pay particular attention to rapid emission reductions towards decarbonisation and low-emission development scenarios and implementation pathways and needs consistent with 1.5°C warming scenarios, in line with CAN’s original proposal for a 1.5°C report.

Taking an integrated approach, the proposed Special Report should demonstrate the pathways available to achieving ambitious emission reductions while promoting sustainable development, including in relation to aspects covered in the Paris Agreement’s preamble. As well as considering pathways that conform to GHG budgets that are consistent with achieving limiting warming to below 1.5ºC with a high (>75%) probability, the Special Report would ideally also break down these pathways by countries and/ or regions and include a separate chapter covering explicit modeling and consideration of climate impacts of international aviation and shipping.

Also, while pursuing the greatest possible mitigation ambition and adaptation resilience, we want to equally ensure that none of the actions taken under the Paris Agreement have unforeseen negative impacts, either to the environment or to the host communities.  This would require that the IPCC assess the efficacy, costs, and risks of all technologies and approaches to limit warming to 1.5°C, with particular attention to those technologies that might pose an intrinsic risk.
 
To the extent possible, the IPCC should categorize the risks of climate-related technologies and approaches as high, medium, or low in their environmental and social impacts.  This could help ensure that as technologies are offered in climate projects under the UNFCCC, unexpected consequences and, particularly, cross-boundary or global incidents, are avoided.  This can also lower the cost of doing technology assessments in project implementations, by focusing on appropriate levels of assessment for each project. The UNFCCC Technology Executive Committee might be helpful in framing this work.

The report should also include empirical evidence on which mitigation and adaptation measures have been effective, and which have failed, as well as taking into account avoided impacts compared to higher temperature scenarios.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Sincerely,

 
_____________
Wael Hmaidan
Director
Climate Action Network-International