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    Dutch multinational oil group Rompetrol, also known as TRG, has entered the biofuel market in France in conjunction with its French subsidiary Dyneff. It hopes to equip approximately 30 filling stations to provide superethanol E85 distribution to French consumers by the end of 2007. Energy Business Review - May 13, 2007.

    A group of British organisations launches the National Forum on Bio-Methane as a Road Transport Fuel. Bio-methane or biogas is widely regarded as the cleanest of all transport fuels, even cleaner than hydrogen or electric vehicles. Several EU projects across the Union have shown its viability. The UK forum was lauched at the Naturally Gas conference on 1st May 2007 in Loughborough, which was hosted by Cenex in partnership with the NSCA and the Natural Gas Vehicle Association. NSCA - May 11, 2007.

    We reported earlier on Dynamotive and Tecna SA's initiative to build 6 bio-oil plants in the Argentinian province of Corrientes (here). Dynamotive has now officially confirmed this news. Dynamotive - May 11, 2007.

    Nigeria launches a national biofuels feasibility study that will look at the potential to link the agricultural sector to the automotive fuels sector. Tim Gbugu, project leader, said "if we are able to link agriculture, we will have large employment opportunity for the sustenance of this country, we have vast land that can be utilised". This Day Onlin (Lagos) - May 9, 2007.

    Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva meets with the CEO of Portuguese energy company Galp Energia, which will sign a biofuel cooperation agreement with Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras. GP1 (*Portuguese) - May 9, 2007.

    The BBC has an interesting story on how biodiesel made from coconut oil is taking the pacific island of Bougainville by storm. Small refineries turn the oil into an affordable fuel that replaces costly imported petroleum products. BBC - May 8, 2007.

    Indian car manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra is set to launch its first B100-powered vehicles for commercial use by this year-end. The company is confident of fitting the new engines in all its existing models. Sify - May 8, 2007.

    The Biofuels Act of the Philippines has come into effect today. The law requires all oil firms in the country to blend 2% biodiesel (most often coconut-methyl ester) in their diesel products. AHN - May 7, 2007.

    Successful tests based on EU-criteria result in approval of 5 new maize hybrids that were developed as dedicated biogas crops [*German]. Veredlungsproduktion - May 6, 2007.

    With funding from the U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation for Regional Economic Development (WIRED), Michigan State University intends to open a training facility dedicated to students and workers who want to start a career in the State's growing bioeconomy. Michigan State University - May 4, 2007.

    Researchers from the Texas A&M University have presented a "giant" sorghum variety for the production of ethanol. The crop is drought-tolerant and yields high amounts of ethanol. Texas A & M - May 3, 2007.

    C-Tran, the public transportation system serving Southwest Washington and parts of Portland, has converted its 97-bus fleet and other diesel vehicles to run on a blend of 20% biodiesel beginning 1 May from its current fleet-wide use of B5. Automotive World - May 3, 2007.

    The Institut Français du Pétrole (IFP) and France's largest research organisation, the CNRS, have signed a framework-agreement to cooperate on the development of new energy technologies, including research into biomass based fuels and products, as well as carbon capture and storage technologies. CNRS - April 30, 2007.

    One of India's largest state-owned bus companies, the Andra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation is to use biodiesel in one depot of each of the 23 districts of the state. The company operates some 22,000 buses that use 330 million liters of diesel per year. Times of India - April 30, 2007.

    Indian sugar producers face surpluses after a bumper harvest and low prices. Diverting excess sugar into the ethanol industry now becomes more attractive. India is the world's second largest sugar producer. NDTVProfit - April 30, 2007.

    Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his Chilean counterpart Michelle Bachelet on Thursday signed a biofuel cooperation agreement designed to share Brazil's experience in ethanol production and help Chile develop biofuels and fuel which Lula seeks to promote in other countries. More info to follow. People's Daily Online - April 27, 2007.

    Italy's Benetton plans to build a €61 million wood processing and biomass pellet production factory Nagyatád (southwest Hungary). The plant will be powered by biogas. Budapest Sun - April 27, 2007.

    Cargill is to build an ethanol plant in the Magdeburger Börde, located on the river Elbe, Germany. The facility, which will be integrated into existing starch processing plant, will have an annual capacity of 100,000 cubic meters and use grain as its feedstock. FIF - April 26, 2007.

    Wärtsilä Corporation was awarded a contract by the Belgian independent power producer Renogen S.A. to supply a second biomass-fuelled combined heat and power plant in the municipality of Amel in the Ardennes, Belgium. The new plant will have a net electrical power output of 3.29 MWe, and a thermal output of up to 10 MWth for district heating. The electrical output in condensing operation is 5.3 MWe. Kauppalehti - April 25, 2007.

    A Scania OmniCity double-decker bus to be deployed by Transport for London (TfL) will be powered by ethanol made from Brazilian sugar cane, TfL Coordinator Helen Woolston told a bioethanol conference in London. The bus will join a fleet of seven hybrid diesel-electric buses currently running in London, where TfL plans to introduce 50 more hybrid buses by the end of 2008. EEMS Online - April 24, 2007.

    Virgin Atlantic plans to fly a 747 jumbojet on a mix of 60% biofuel and 40% kerosene in 2008. Sir Richard Branson is collaborating with Boeing to achieve this milestone in aviation history. He already hinted at the fact that the biofuels "it was possible the crops could be grown in Africa, thereby helping to alleviate poverty on the continent at the same time as safeguarding the environment." More details to be announced soon. Telegraph - April 24, 2007.

    A top executive of General Motors, vice-chairman Bob Lutz, says the US should launch a 'Manhattan Project' for biofuels to make a 'wholesale switch' within five years. Kentucky.com - April 24, 2007.

    Canada's new government launches a C$200 million 'Ecoagriculture Biofuels Capital Initiative' aimed at helping agricultural producers construct or expand transportation biofuel production facilities. Government of Canada - April 24, 2007.

    Russian oil company Lukoil reportedly installed production facilities for obtaining biofuels in its refinery Neftochim in the coastal city of Bourgas. Lukoil has over 2500 oil stations in Europe, the largest number of which are located in Bulgaria, which joined the EU this year. Sofia Echo - April 22, 2007.

    The government of the Indian state of Haryana approves three small-scale (1MW) biomass gasification projects, while the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA) identifies seven industrial sectors it will help to adopt the biomass gasification technology to meet their captive thermal and electrical requirements. Economic Times - April 21, 2007.

    The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is planning to build a coconut oil biodiesel plant in Ivisan, Capiz (a province in the Western Visayas region) by the middle of this year in response to the growing demand for biodiesel. News Today (Iloilo City) - April 20, 2007.

    Scientists working for Royal Nedalco (involved in cellulosic ethanol production), the Delft University of Technology and a firm called Bird Engineering have found a fungus in elephant dung that helped them produce a yeast strain which can efficiently ferment xylose into ethanol. The researchers consider this to be a breakthrough and see widespread application of the yeast within 5 years. More info to follow as details emerge. Scientific American - April 19, 2007.

    As part of its 'Le dessous des cartes' magazine, Europe's culture TV channel ARTE airs a documentary about the geopolitics of sustainable transport tonight, at 10.20 pm CET. Readers outside of Europe can catch it here. ARTE - April 18, 2007.

    Spain's diversified company the Ferry Group is investing €50 million into a biomass plantation in new EU-memberstate Bulgaria. The project will see the establishment of a 8000ha plantation of hybrid paulownia trees that will be used for the production of fuel pellets. Dnevnik, Bulgaria - April 18, 2007.

    Bioprocess Control signs agreement with Svensk Biogas and forms closer ties with Swedish Biogas International. Bioprocess Control develops high-tech applications that optimise the commercial production of biogas. It won Sweden's prestigious national clean-tech innovations competition MiljöInnovation 2007 for its 'Biogas Optimizer' that accelerates the biogas production process and ensures greater process stability. NewsDesk Sweden - April 17, 2007.

    A joint Bioenergy project of Purdue University and Archer Daniels Midland Company has been selected to receive funding by the U.S. Department of Energy to further the commercialization of highly-efficient yeast which converts cellulosic materials into ethanol through fermentation. ADM - April 17, 2007.

    Researchers at Iowa State University and the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Services (ARS) have found that glycerin, a biodiesel by-product, is as effective as conventional corn-soymeal diets for pigs. AllAboutFeed - April 16, 2007.

    U.S. demand for uranium may surge by a third amid a revival in atomic power projects, increasing concern that imports will increase and that limited supplies may push prices higher, the Nuclear Energy Institute says. Prices touched all time highs of US$113 a pound in an auction last week by a U.S producer amid plans by China and India to expand their nuclear power capacity. International Herald Tribune - April 16, 2007.

    Taiwan mandates a 1% biodiesel and ethanol blend for all diesel and gasoline sold in the country, to become effective next year. By 2010, the ratio will be increased to 2%. WisconsinAg Connection - April 16, 2007.

    Vietnam has won the prestigious EU-sponsored Energy Globe award for 2006 for a community biogas program, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced. ThanhNien News - April 13, 2007.

    Given unstable fossil fuel prices and their negative effects on the economy, Tanzania envisages large-scale agriculture of energy crops Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Mr Christopher Chiza has said. A 600 hectare jatropha seed production effort is underway, with the seeds expected to be distributed to farmers during the 2009/2010 growing season. Daily News (Dar es Salaam) - April 12, 2007.

    Renault has announced it will launch a flex-fuel version of its Logan in Brazil in July. Brazilian autosales rose 28% to 1,834,581 in 2006 from 2004. GreenCarCongress - April 12, 2007.

    Chevron and Weyerhouser, one of the largest forest products companies, are joining forces to research next generation biofuels. The companies will focus on developing technology that can transform wood fiber and other nonfood sources of cellulose into economical, clean-burning biofuels for cars and trucks. PRNewswire - April 12, 2007.

    BioConversion Blog's C. Scott Miller discusses the publication of 'The BioTown Source Book', which offers a very accessible introduction to the many different bioconversion technologies currently driving the bioenergy sector. BioConversion Blog - April 11, 2007.

    China's State Forestry Administration (SFA) and the China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Import & Export Corp., Ltd. (COFCO) have signed a framework agreement over plans to cooperatively develop forest bioenergy resources, COFCO announced on its web site. Interfax China - April 11, 2007.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of El Salvador is speeding up writing the country's biofuels law in order to take advantage of the US-Brazil cooperation agreement which identified the country as one where projects can be launched fairly quickly. The bill is expected to be presented to parliament in the coming weeks. El Porvenir - April 11, 2007.

    ConocoPhillips will establish an eight-year, $22.5 million research program at Iowa State University dedicated to developing technologies that produce biofuels. The grant is part of ConocoPhillips' plan to create joint research programs with major universities to produce viable solutions to diversify America's energy sources. Iowa State University - April 11, 2007.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: mitigation of climate change

After half a week of intense negotiations in Bangkok, scientists, economists and policy makers of the Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have published their contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report on Climate Change (AR4). It focuses on the scientific, technological, environmental, economic and social aspects of the mitigation of climate change.

To do so the working group relied on new literature and technological evidence, on the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR), on the Special Reports on CO2 Capture and Storage (SRCCS) and on Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System (SROC).

The report is a first draft entitled Summary for Policy Makers [*.pdf], and looks at five major issues:
  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission trends
  • Mitigation in the short and medium term, across different economic sectors (until 2030)
  • Mitigation in the long-term (beyond 2030)
  • Policies, measures and instruments to mitigate climate change
  • Sustainable development and climate change mitigation
The report presents mitigation options that can be implemented by relying on currently available technologies, and those that are expected to be available in the medium term (2030). Many of those technologies deal with biofuels, bioenergy and bioproducts, including the carbon negative energy system known as 'Bio-Energy with Carbon Storage' (BECS), to which we refer often. This last option can be seen as a 'geo-engineering' option, because it involves large-scale energy plantations. The Summary sees BECS as a suitable strategy to reach the reductions presented in several mitigation scenarios, because the negative emissions system cleans up the carbon emissions from the past. Interestingly, other geo-engineering options, such as ocean fertilization to remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere, or blocking sunlight by bringing material into the upper atmosphere, are dismissed as being "speculative and unproven, with the risk of unknown side-effects".

Importantly, the document confirms what we have often stressed, namely that the widespread use of agricultural land for biomass production for energy can have both positive and negative environmental impacts and negative or positive implications for food security. The outcomes depend on implementation strategies and local socio-economic circumstances.

The Summary further looks at long term mitigation options (after 2030), at the estimated costs for the implementation of the different strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in different sectors of the economy, according to different scenarios and carbon pricing levels and financing mechanisms. Finally, the document presents policy efforts and strategies needed to achieve the targets, and implementation bottlenecks that may be encountered.

The broad conclusion that can be drawn from the report is that the world has both the knowledge, technologies and financial means to avoid the worst effects of climate change (as they were outlined by Working Group II, earlier post), by investing in renewables such as biofuels and in nuclear, by improving energy efficiency, by limiting the use of fossil fuels, by increasing the efficiency of agriculture and by investing in carbon capture and storage, including BECS. A portfolio of those options makes it possible to limit emissions in such a way that global temperature increase does not surpass the 2°C mark. The technologies are available, but political will and a change in life-styles by wealthy consumers will be required.

As in the other reports, the findings in this Summary are qualified by the degree of scientific agreement and certainty with which they can be stated:

Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have grown since pre-industrial times, with an increase of 70% between 1970 and 2004 (high agreement, much evidence).

•Since pre-industrial times, increasing emissions of GHGs due to human activities have led to a marked increase in atmospheric GHG concentrations:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

•Between 1970 and 2004, global emissions of CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs and SF6, weighted by their global warming potential (GWP), have increased by 70% (24% between 1990 and 2004), from 28.7 to 49 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (GtCO2-eq) (see Figure 1, click to enlarge). The emissions of these gases have increased at different rates. CO2 emissions have grown between 1970 and 2004 by about 80% (28% between 1990 and 2004) and represented 77% of total anthropogenic GHG emissions in 2004.

Note, figure 1: Global Warming Potential (GWP) weighted global greenhouse gas emissions 1970-2004. 100 year GWPs from IPCC 1996 (SAR) were used to convert emissions to CO2-eq. (cf. UNFCCC reporting guidelines). CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs and SF6 from all sources are included. The two CO2 emission categories reflect CO2 emissions from energy production and use (second from bottom) and from land use changes (third from the bottom) [Figure 1.1a]. (1.) Other N2O includes industrial processes, deforestation/savannah burning, waste water and waste incineration. (2.) Other is CH4 from industrial processes and savannah burning. (3.) CO2 emissions from decay (decomposition) of above ground biomass that remains after logging and deforestation and CO2 from peat fires and decay of drained peat soils. (4.) As well as traditional biomass use at 10% of total, assuming 90% is from sustainable biomass production. Corrected for 10% carbon of biomass that is assumed to remain as charcoal after combustion. (5.) For large-scale forest and scrubland biomass burning averaged data for 1997-2002 based on Global Fire Emissions Data base satellite data. (6.) Cement production and natural gas flaring. (7.) Fossil fuel use includes emissions from feedstocks.

•The largest growth in global GHG emissions between 1970 and 2004 has come from the energy supply sector (an increase of 145%). The growth in direct emissions in this period from transport was 120%, industry 65% and land use, land use change, and forestry (LULUCF) 40%. Between 1970 and 1990 direct emissions from agriculture grew by 27% and from buildings by 26%, and the latter remained at approximately at 1990 levels thereafter. However, the buildings sector has a high level of electricity use and hence the total of direct and indirect emissions in this sector is much higher (75%) than direct emissions (Figures 1 - 3).

Note, figure 2: Relative global development of Gross Domestic Product measured in PPP (GDPppp), Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES), CO2 emissions (from fossil fuel burning, gas flaring and cement manufacturing) and Population (Pop). In addition, in dotted lines, the figure shows Income per capita (GDPppp/Pop), Energy Intensity (TPES/GDPppp), Carbon Intensity of energy supply (CO2/TPES), and Emission Intensity of the economic production process (CO2/GDPppp) for the period 1970-2004.

Note, figure 3 (click to enlarge): Figure 3a: Year 2004 distribution of regional per capita GHG emissions (all Kyoto gases, including those from land-use) over the population of different country groupings. The percentages in the bars indicate a regions share in global GHG emissions. Figure 3b: Year 2004 distribution of regional GHG emissions (all Kyoto gases, including those from land-use) per US$ of GDPppp over the GDPppp of different country groupings. The percentages in the bars indicate a regions share in global GHG emissions.

•The effect on global emissions of the decrease in global energy intensity (-33%) during 1970 to 2004 has been smaller than the combined effect of global income growth (77 %) and global population growth (69%); both drivers of increasing energy-related CO2 emissions (Figure 2). The long-term trend of a declining carbon intensity of energy supply reversed after 2000. Differences in terms of per capita income, per capita emissions, and energy intensity among countries remain significant. (Figure 3, click to enlarge). In 2004 UNFCCC Annex I countries ["wealthy, highly developed countries"] held a 20% share in world population, produced 57% of world Gross Domestic Product based on Purchasing Power Parity (GDPppp), and accounted for 46% of global GHG emissions (Figure 3a).

•The emissions of ozone depleting substances (ODS) controlled under the Montreal Protocol, which are also GHGs, have declined significantly since the 1990s. By 2004 the emissions of these gases were about 20% of their 1990 level.

•A range of policies, including those on climate change, energy security, and sustainable development, have been effective in reducing GHG emissions in different sectors and many countries. The scale of such measures, however, has not yet been large enough to counteract the global growth in emissions.

The Emission Scenarios of the IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES)

A1. The A1 storyline and scenario family describes a future world of very rapid economic growth, global population that peaks in mid-century and declines thereafter, and the rapid introduction of new and more efficient technologies. Major underlying themes are convergence among regions, capacity building and increased cultural and social interactions, with a substantial reduction in regional differences in per capita income. The A1 scenario family develops into three groups that describe alternative directions of technological change in the energy system. The three A1 groups are distinguished by their technological emphasis: fossil intensive (A1FI), non-fossil energy sources (A1T), or a balance across all sources (A1B) (where balanced is defined as not relying too heavily on one particular energy source, on the assumption that similar improvement rates apply to all energy supply and end use technologies).

A2. The A2 storyline and scenario family describes a very heterogeneous world. The underlying theme is self reliance and preservation of local identities. Fertility patterns across regions converge very slowly, which results in continuously increasing population. Economic development is primarily regionally oriented and per capita economic growth and technological change more fragmented and slower than other storylines.

B1. The B1 storyline and scenario family describes a convergent world with the same global population, that peaks in mid-century and declines thereafter, as in the A1 storyline, but with rapid change in economic structures toward a service and information economy, with reductions in material intensity and the introduction of clean and resource efficient technologies. The emphasis is on global solutions to economic, social and environmental sustainability, including improved equity, but without additional climate initiatives.

B2. The B2 storyline and scenario family describes a world in which the emphasis is on local solutions to economic, social and environmental sustainability. It is a world with continuously increasing global population, at a rate lower than A2, intermediate levels of economic development, and less rapid and more diverse technological change than in the B1 and A1 storylines. While the scenario is also oriented towards environmental protection and social equity, it focuses on local and regional levels.

An illustrative scenario was chosen for each of the six scenario groups A1B, A1FI, A1T, A2, B1 and B2. All should be considered equally sound.

With current climate change mitigation policies and related sustainable development practices, global GHG emissions will continue to grow over the next few decades (high agreement, much evidence).

•The SRES (non-mitigation) scenarios project an increase of baseline global GHG emissions by a range of 9.7 GtCO2-eq to 36.7 GtCO2-eq (25-90%) between 2000 and 20309 (Figure 4, click to enlarge). In these scenarios, fossil fuels are projected to maintain their dominant position in the global energy mix to 2030 and beyond. Hence CO2 emissions between 2000 and 2030 from energy use are projected to grow 45 to 110% over that period. Two thirds to three quarters of this increase in energy CO2 emissions is projected to come from non-Annex I regions, with their average per capita energy CO2 emissions being projected to remain substantially lower (2.8-5.1 tCO2/cap) than those in Annex I regions (9.6-15.1 tCO2/cap) by 2030. According to SRES scenarios, their economies are projected to have a lower energy use per unit of GDP (6.2 – 9.9 MJ/US$ GDP) than that of non-Annex I countries (11.0 – 21.6 MJ/US$ GDP).

Note, figure 4: Global GHG emissions for 2000 and projected baseline emissions for 2030 and 2100 from IPCC SRES and the post-SRES literature. The figure provides the emissions from the six illustrative SRES scenarios. It also provides the frequency distribution of the emissions in the post-SRES scenarios (5th, 25th, median, 75th, 95th percentile). F-gases cover HFCs, PFCs and SF6.

Baseline emissions scenarios published since SRES, are comparable in range to those presented in the IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) (25- 135 GtCO2-eq/yr in 2100, see Figure 4) (high agreement, much evidence).

•Studies since SRES used lower values for some drivers for emissions, notably population projections. However, for those studies incorporating these new population projections, changes in other drivers, such as economic growth, resulted in little change in overall emission levels. Economic growth projections for Africa, Latin America and the Middle East to 2030 in post-SRES baseline scenarios are lower than in SRES, but this has only minor effects on global economic growth and overall emissions.

•Representation of aerosol and aerosol precursor emissions, including sulphur dioxide, black carbon, and organic carbon, which have a net cooling effect has improved. Generally, they are projected to be lower than reported in SRES.

•Available studies indicate that the choice of exchange rate for GDP (MER or PPP) does not appreciably affect the projected emissions, when used consistently. The differences, if any, are small compared to the uncertainties caused by assumptions on other parameters in the scenarios, e.g. technological change.


Mitigation potential and analytical approaches
The concept of “mitigation potential” has been developed to assess the scale of GHG reductions that could be made, relative to emission baselines, for a given level of carbon price (expressed in cost per unit of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions avoided or reduced). Mitigation potential is further differentiated in terms of “market potential” and “economic potential”.

Market potential is the mitigation potential based on private costs and private discount rates13, which might be expected to occur under forecast market conditions, including policies and measures currently in place, noting that barriers limit actual uptake [2.4].

Economic potential
is the mitigation potential, which takes into account social costs and benefits and social discount rates14, assuming that market efficiency is improved by policies and measures and barriers are removed [2.4].
Studies of market potential can be used to inform policy makers about mitigation potential with existing policies and barriers, while studies of economic potentials show what might be achieved if appropriate new and additional policies were put into place to remove barriers and include social costs and benefits. The economic potential is therefore generally greater than the market potential.

Mitigation potential is estimated using different types of approaches. There are two broad classes – “bottom-up” and “top-down” approaches, which primarily have been used to assess the economic potential.

Bottom-up studies
are based on assessment of mitigation options, emphasizing specific technologies and regulations. They are typically sectoral studies taking the macro-economy as unchanged. Sector estimates have been aggregated, as in the TAR, to provide an estimate of global mitigation potential for this assessment.

Top-down studies assess the economy-wide potential of mitigation options. They use globally consistent frameworks and aggregated information about mitigation options and capture macro-economic and market feedbacks.

Bottom-up and top-down models have become more similar since the TAR as top-down models have incorporated more technological mitigation options and bottom-up models have incorporated more macroeconomic and market feedbacks as well as adopting barrier analysis into their model structures. Bottom-up studies in particular are useful for the assessment of specific policy options at sectoral level, e.g. options for improving energy efficiency, while top-down studies are useful for assessing cross-sectoral and economy-wide climate change policies, such as carbon taxes and stabilization policies.

However, current bottom-up and top-down studies of economic potential have limitations in considering life-style choices, and in including all externalities such as local air pollution. They have limited representation of some regions, countries, sectors, gases, and barriers. The projected mitigation costs do not take into account potential benefits of avoided climate change.

Assumptions in studies on mitigation portfolios and macro-economic costs
Studies on mitigation portfolios and macro-economic costs assessed in this report are based on top-down modelling. Most models use a global least cost approach to mitigation portfolios and with universal emissions trading, assuming transparent markets, no transaction cost, and thus perfect implementation of mitigation measures throughout the 21st century. Costs are given for a specific point in time.

Global modelled costs will increase if some regions, sectors (e.g. land-use), options or gases are excluded. Global modelled costs will decrease with lower baselines, use of revenues from carbon taxes and auctioned permits, and if induced technological learning is included. These models do not consider climate benefits and generally also co-benefits of mitigation measures, or equity issues.

Both bottom-up and top-down studies indicate that there is substantial economic potential for the mitigation of global GHG emissions over the coming decades, that could offset the projected growth of global emissions or reduce emissions below current levels (high agreement, much evidence).

Uncertainties in the estimates are shown as ranges in the tables below to reflect the ranges of baselines, rates of technological change and other factors that are specific to the different approaches. Furthermore, uncertainties also arise from the limited information for global coverage of countries, sectors and gases.

Bottom-up studies:
•In 2030, the economic potential estimated for this assessment from bottom-up approaches is presented in Table 1 (click to enlarge) below and Figure 5A below. For reference: emissions in 2000 were equal to 43 GtCO2-eq:

•Studies suggest that mitigation opportunities with net negative costs15 have the potential to reduce emissions by around 6 GtCO2-eq/yr in 2030. Realizing these requires dealing with implementation barriers.

•No one sector or technology can address the entire mitigation challenge. All assessed sectors contribute to the total (see Figure 6 below). The technologies with the largest economic potential for the respective sectors are shown in Table 3 below.

Top-down studies:
•Top-down studies calculate an emission reduction for 2030 as presented in Table 2 (click to enlarge) below and Figure 5B below. The global economic potentials found in the top-down studies are in line with bottom-up studies, though there are considerable differences at the sectoral level:

•The estimates in Table 2 were derived from stabilization scenarios, i.e., runs towards long-run stabilization of atmospheric GHG concentration.

Note, figure 5 (click to enlarge): Figure 5A: Global economic potential in 2030 estimated from bottom-up studies (data from Table 1); Figure 5B: Global economic potential in 2030 estimated from top-down studies (data from Table 2).

Table 3 (click to enlarge): Overview of key mitigation technologies and strategies in different economic sectors (biofuels, bioenergy and bioproducts highlighted)

In 2030 macro-economic costs for multi-gas mitigation, consistent with emissions trajectories towards stabilization between 445 and 710 ppm CO2-eq, are estimated at between a 3% decrease of global GDP and a small increase, compared to the baseline (see table 4, click to enlarge). However, regional costs may differ significantly from global averages (high agreement, medium evidence).

•The majority of studies conclude that reduction of GDP relative to the GDP baseline increases with the stringency of the stabilization target. Depending on the existing tax system and spending of the revenues, modelling studies indicate that costs may be substantially lower under the assumption that revenues from carbon taxes or auctioned permits under an emission trading system are used to promote low-carbon technologies or reform of existing taxes.

•Studies that assume the possibility that climate change policy induces enhanced technological change also give lower costs. However, this may require higher upfront investment in order to achieve costs reductions thereafter.

•Although most models show GDP losses, some show GDP gains because they assume that baselines are non-optimal and mitigation policies improve market efficiencies, or they assume that more technological change may be induced by mitigation policies. Examples of market inefficiencies include unemployed resources, distortionary taxes and/or subsidies.

•A multi-gas approach and inclusion of carbon sinks generally reduces costs substantially compared to CO2 emission abatement only.

•Regional costs are largely dependent on the assumed stabilization level and baseline scenario. The allocation regime is also important, but for most countries to a lesser extent than the stabilization level.

Changes in lifestyle and behaviour patterns can contribute to climate change mitigation across all sectors. Management practices can also have a positive role. (high agreement, medium evidence)

• Lifestyle changes can reduce GHG emissions. Changes in lifestyles and consumption patterns that emphasize resource conservation can contribute to developing a low-carbon economy that is both equitable and sustainable.

• Education and training programmes can help overcome barriers to the market acceptance of energy efficiency, particularly in combination with other measures.

• Changes in occupant behaviour, cultural patterns and consumer choice and use of technologies can result in considerable reduction in CO2 emissions related to energy use in buildings.

• Transport Demand Management, which includes urban planning (that can reduce the demand for travel) and provision of information and educational techniques (that can reduce car usage and lead to an efficient driving style) can support GHG mitigation.

• In industry, management tools that include staff training, reward systems, regular feedback, documentation of existing practices can help overcome industrial organization barriers, reduce energy use, and GHG emissions.

While studies use different methodologies, in all analyzed world regions near-term health co-benefits from reduced air pollution as a result of actions to reduce GHG emissions can be substantial and may offset a substantial fraction of mitigation costs (high agreement, much evidence).

• Including co-benefits other than health, such as increased energy security, and increased agricultural production and reduced pressure on natural ecosystems, due to decreased tropospheric ozone concentrations, would further enhance cost savings.

• Integrating air pollution abatement and climate change mitigation policies offers potentially large cost reductions compared to treating those policies in isolation.

Literature since TAR confirms that there may be effects from Annex I countries [wealthy countries"] action on the global economy and global emissions, although the scale of carbon leakage remains uncertain (high agreement, medium evidence).

• Fossil fuel exporting nations (in both Annex I and non-Annex I countries) may expect, as indicated in TAR, lower demand and prices and lower GDP growth due to mitigation policies. The extent of this spill over24 depends strongly on assumptions related to policy decisions and oil market conditions.

• Critical uncertainties remain in the assessment of carbon leakage. Most equilibrium modelling support the conclusion in the TAR of economy-wide leakage from Kyoto action in the order of 5-20%, which would be less if competitive low-emissions technologies were effectively diffused .

New energy infrastructure investments in developing countries, upgrades of energy infrastructure in industrialized countries, and policies that promote energy security, can, in many cases, create opportunities to achieve GHG emission reductions compared to baseline scenarios. Additional co-benefits are country-specific but often include air pollution abatement, balance of trade improvement, provision of modern energy services to rural areas and employment (high agreement, much evidence).

• Future energy infrastructure investment decisions, expected to total over 20 trillion US$26 between now and 2030, will have long term impacts on GHG emissions, because of the long life-times of energy plants and other infrastructure capital stock. The widespread diffusion of low-carbon technologies may take many decades, even if early investments in these technologies are made attractive. Initial estimates show that returning global energy-related CO2 emissions to 2005 levels by 2030 would require a large shift in the pattern of investment, although the net additional investment required ranges from negligible to 5-10%.

• It is often more cost-effective to invest in end-use energy efficiency improvement than in increasing energy supply to satisfy demand for energy services. Efficiency improvement has a positive effect on energy security, local and regional air pollution abatement, and employment.

• Renewable energy generally has a positive effect on energy security, employment and on air quality. Given costs relative to other supply options, renewable electricity, which accounted for 18% of the electricity supply in 2005, can have a 30-35% share of the total electricity supply in 2030 at carbon prices up to 50 US$/tCO2-eq.

• The higher the market prices of fossil fuels, the more low-carbon alternatives will be competitive, although price volatility will be a disincentive for investors. Higher priced conventional oil resources, on the other hand, may be replaced by high carbon alternatives such as from oil sands, oil shales, heavy oils, and synthetic fuels from coal and gas, leading to increasing GHG emissions, unless production plants are equipped with CCS.

• Given costs relative to other supply options, nuclear power, which accounted for 16% of the electricity supply in 2005, can have an 18% share of the total electricity supply in 2030 at carbon prices up to 50 US$/tCO2-eq, but safety, weapons proliferation and waste remain as constraints.

• CCS in underground geological formations is a new technology with the potential to make an important contribution to mitigation by 2030. Technical, economic and regulatory developments will affect the actual contribution.

There are multiple mitigation options in the transport sector, but their effect may be counteracted by growth in the sector. Mitigation options are faced with many barriers, such as consumer preferences and lack of policy frameworks (medium agreement, medium evidence).

• Improved vehicle efficiency measures, leading to fuel savings, in many cases have net benefits (at least for light-duty vehicles), but the market potential is much lower than the economic potential due to the influence of other consumer considerations, such as performance and size. There is not enough information to assess the mitigation potential for heavy-duty vehicles. Market forces alone, including rising fuel costs, are therefore not expected to lead to significant emission reductions.

• Biofuels might play an important role in addressing GHG emissions in the transport sector, depending on their production pathway. Biofuels used as gasoline and diesel fuel additives/substitutes are projected to grow to 3% of total transport energy demand in the baseline in 2030. This could increase to about 5-10%, depending on future oil and carbon prices, improvements in vehicle efficiency and the success of technologies to utilise cellulose biomass.

• Modal shifts from road to rail and inland waterway shipping and from low-occupancy to high-occupancy passenger transportation29, as well as land-use, urban planning and non-motorized transport offer opportunities for GHG mitigation, depending on local conditions and policies.

• Medium term mitigation potential for CO2 emissions from the aviation sector can come from improved fuel efficiency, which can be achieved through a variety of means, including technology, operations and air traffic management. However, such improvements are expected to only partially offset the growth of aviation emissions. Total mitigation potential in the sector would also need to account for non-CO2 climate impacts of aviation emissions.

• Realizing emissions reductions in the transport sector is often a co-benefit of addressing traffic congestion, air quality and energy security.

Energy efficiency options for new and existing buildings could considerably reduce CO2 emissions with net economic benefit. Many barriers exist against tapping this potential, but there are also large co-benefits (high agreement, much evidence).

• By 2030, about 30% of the projected GHG emissions in the building sector can be avoided with net economic benefit. Energy efficient buildings, while limiting the growth of CO2 emissions, can also improve indoor and outdoor air quality, improve social welfare and enhance energy security.

• Opportunities for realising GHG reductions in the building sector exist worldwide. However, multiple barriers make it difficult to realise this potential. These barriers include availability of technology, financing, poverty, higher costs of reliable information, limitations inherent in building designs and an appropriate portfolio of policies and programs.

• The magnitude of the above barriers is higher in the developing countries and this makes it more difficult for them to achieve the GHG reduction potential of the building sector.

The economic potential in the industrial sector is predominantly located in energy intensive industries. Full use of available mitigation options is not being made in either industrialized or developing nations (high agreement, much evidence).

• Many industrial facilities in developing countries are new and include the latest technology with the lowest specific emissions. However, many older, inefficient facilities remain in both industrialized and developing countries. Upgrading these facilities can deliver significant emission reductions.

• The slow rate of capital stock turnover, lack of financial and technical resources, and limitations in the ability of firms, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, to access and absorb technological information are key barriers to full use of available mitigation options.

Agricultural practices collectively can make a significant contribution at low cost to increasing soil carbon sinks, to GHG emission reductions, and by contributing biomass feedstocks for energy use (medium agreement, medium evidence).

• A large proportion of the mitigation potential of agriculture (excluding bioenergy) arises from soil carbon sequestration, which has strong synergies with sustainable agriculture and generally reduces vulnerability to climate change.

• Stored soil carbon may be vulnerable to loss through both land management change and climate change.

• Considerable mitigation potential is also available from reductions in methane and nitrous oxide emissions in some agricultural systems.

• There is no universally applicable list of mitigation practices; practices need to be evaluated for individual agricultural systems and settings.

• Biomass from agricultural residues and dedicated energy crops can be an important bioenergy feedstock, but its contribution to mitigation depends on demand for bioenergy from transport and energy supply, on water availability, and on requirements of land for food and fibre production. Widespread use of agricultural land for biomass production for energy may compete with other land uses and can have positive and negative environmental impacts and implications for food security.

Forest-related mitigation activities can considerably reduce emissions from sources and increase CO2 removals by sinks at low costs, and can be designed to create synergies with adaptation and sustainable development (high agreement, much evidence)

• About 65% of the total mitigation potential (up to 100 US$/tCO2-eq) is located in the tropics and about 50% of the total could be achieved by reducing emissions from deforestation.

• Climate change can affect the mitigation potential of the forest sector (i.e., native and planted forests) and is expected to be different for different regions and sub-regions, both in magnitude and direction.

• Forest-related mitigation options can be designed and implemented to be compatible with adaptation, and can have substantial co-benefits in terms of employment, income generation, biodiversity and watershed conservation, renewable energy supply and poverty alleviation.

Post-consumer waste is a small contributor to global GHG emissions (less than 5%), but the waste sector can positively contribute to GHG mitigation at low cost and promote sustainable development (high agreement, much evidence).

• Existing waste management practices can provide effective mitigation of GHG emissions from this sector: a wide range of mature, environmentally effective technologies are commercially available to mitigate emissions and provide co-benefits for improved public health and safety, soil protection and pollution prevention, and local energy supply.

• Waste minimization and recycling provide important indirect mitigation benefits through the conservation of energy and materials.

• Lack of local capital is a key constraint for waste and wastewater management in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Lack of expertise on sustainable technology is also an important barrier.

Geo-engineering options, such as ocean fertilization to remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere, or blocking sunlight by bringing material into the upper atmosphere, remain largely speculative and unproven, and with the risk of unknown side-effects. Reliable cost estimates for these options have not been published (medium agreement, limited evidence).


In order to stabilize the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere, emissions would need to peak and decline thereafter. The lower the stabilization level, the more quickly this peak and decline would need to occur. Mitigation efforts over the next two to three decades will have a large impact on opportunities to achieve lower stabilization levels (see Table 5, click to enlarge, and Figure 8 below) (high agreement, much evidence).

• Recent studies using multi-gas reduction have explored lower stabilization levels than reported in TAR.

• Assessed studies contain a range of emissions profiles for achieving stabilization of GHG concentrations34. Most of these studies used a least cost approach and include both early and delayed emission reductions (Figure 7, click to enlarge). Table 5 summarizes the required emissions levels for different groups of stabilization concentrations and the associated equilibrium global mean temperature increase, using the ‘best estimate’ of climate sensitivity (see also Figure 8, click to enlarge, for the likely range of uncertainty). Stabilization at lower concentration and related equilibrium temperature levels advances the date when emissions need to peak, and requires greater emissions reductions by 2050. The range of stabilization levels assessed can be achieved by deployment of a portfolio of technologies that are currently available and those that are expected to be commercialised in coming decades. This assumes that appropriate and effective incentives are in place for development, acquisition, deployment and diffusion of technologies and for addressing related barriers (high agreement, much evidence).

Note, figure 7 (click to enlarge): Emissions pathways of mitigation scenarios for alternative categories of stabilization levels (Category I to VI as defined in the box in each panel). The pathways are for CO2 emissions only. Pink shaded (dark) areas give the CO2 emissions for the post-TAR emissions scenarios. Green shaded (light) areas depict the range of more than 80 TAR stabilization scenarios. Base year emissions may differ between models due to differences in sector and industry coverage. To reach the lower stabilization levels some scenarios deploy removal of CO2 from the atmosphere (negative emissions) using technologies such as biomass energy production utilizing carbon capture and storage [Biopact: these technologies are often called 'Bio-energy with Carbon Storage' - BECS).

Note, figure 8 (click to enlarge): Stabilization scenario categories as reported in Figure 7 (coloured bands) and their relationship to equilibrium global mean temperature change above pre-industrial, using (i) “best estimate” climate sensitivity of 3°C (black line in middle of shaded area), (ii) upper bound of likely range of climate sensitivity of 4.5°C (red line at top of shaded area) (iii) lower bound of likely range of climate sensitivity of 2°C (blue line at bottom of shaded area). Coloured shading shows the concentration bands for stabilization of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere corresponding to the stabilization scenario categories I to VI as indicated in Figure 7. The data are drawn from AR4 WGI, Chapter 10.8.

• The contribution of different technologies to emission reductions required for stabilization will vary over time, region and stabilization level.
  • Energy efficiency plays a key role across many scenarios for most regions and timescales.
  • For lower stabilization levels, scenarios put more emphasis on the use of low-carbon energy sources, such as renewable energy and nuclear power, and the use of CO2 capture and storage (CCS). In these scenarios improvements of carbon intensity of energy supply and the whole economy need to be much faster than in the past.
  • Including non-CO2 and CO2 land-use and forestry mitigation options provides greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness for achieving stabilization. Modern bioenergy could contribute substantially to the share of renewable energy in the mitigation portfolio.
  • For illustrative examples of portfolios of mitigation options, see figure 9 (click to enlarge), below:

Note, figure 9 (click to enlarge): Cumulative emissions reductions for alternative mitigation measures for 2000 to 2030 (left-hand panel) and for 2000-2100 (right-hand panel). The figure shows illustrative scenarios from four models (AIM, IMAGE, IPAC and MESSAGE) aiming at the stabilization at 490-540 ppm CO2-eq and levels of 650 ppm CO2-eq, respectively. Dark bars denote reductions for a target of 650 ppm CO2-eq and light bars the additional reductions to achieve 490-540 ppm CO2-eq. Note that some models do not consider mitigation through forest sink enhancement (AIM and IPAC) or CCS (AIM) and that the share of low-carbon energy options in total energy supply is also determined by inclusion of these options in the baseline. CCS includes carbon capture and storage from biomass ["BECS"]. Forest sinks include reducing emissions from deforestation.

• Investments in and world-wide deployment of low-GHG emission technologies as well as technology improvements through public and private Research, Development & Demonstration (RD&D) would be required for achieving stabilization targets as well as cost reduction. The lower the stabilization levels, especially those of 550 ppm CO2-eq or lower, the greater the need for more efficient RD&D efforts and investment in new technologies during the next few decades.

• Appropriate incentives could address these barriers and help realize the goals across a wide portfolio of technologies. This requires that barriers to development, acquisition, deployment and diffusion of technologies are effectively addressed.

In 2050 global average macro-economic costs for multi-gas mitigation towards stabilization between 710 and 445 ppm CO2-eq, are between a 1% gain to a 5.5% decrease of global GDP (see Table 6, click to enlarge). For specific countries and sectors, costs vary considerably from the global average (high agreement, medium evidence).

Decision-making about the appropriate level of global mitigation over time involves an iterative risk management process that includes mitigation and adaptation, taking into account actual and avoided climate change damages, co-benefits, sustainability, equity, and attitudes to risk. Choices about the scale and timing of GHG mitigation involve balancing the economic costs of more rapid emission reductions now against the corresponding medium-term and long-term climate risks of delay (high agreement, much evidence).

• Limited and early analytical results from integrated analyses of the costs and benefits of mitigation indicate that these are broadly comparable in magnitude, but do not as yet permit an unambiguous determination of an emissions pathway or stabilization level where benefits exceed costs.

• Integrated assessment of the economic costs and benefits of different mitigation pathways shows that the economically optimal timing and level of mitigation depends upon the uncertain shape and character of the assumed climate change damage cost curve. To illustrate this dependency:
  • if the climate change damage cost curve grows slowly and regularly, and there is good foresight (which increases the potential for timely adaptation), later and less stringent mitigation is economically justified;
  • alternatively if the damage cost curve increases steeply, or contains non-linearities (e.g. vulnerability thresholds or even small probabilities ofcatastrophic events), earlier and more stringent mitigation is economically justified.
• Climate sensitivity is a key uncertainty for mitigation scenarios that aim to meet a specific temperature level. Studies show that if climate sensitivity is high then the timing and level of mitigation is earlier and more stringent than when it is low.

• Delayed emission reductions lead to investments that lock in more emission-intensive infrastructure and development pathways. This significantly constrains the opportunities to achieve lower stabilization levels (as shown in Table 6) and increases the risk of more severe climate change impacts.


A wide variety of national policies and instruments are available to governments to create the incentives for mitigation action. Their applicability depends on national circumstances and an understanding of their interactions, but experience from implementation in various countries and sectors shows there are advantages and disadvantages for any given instrument (high agreement, much evidence).

• Four main criteria are used to evaluate policies and instruments: environmental effectiveness, cost effectiveness, distributional effects, including equity, and institutional feasibility.

• All instruments can be designed well or poorly, and be stringent or lax. In addition, monitoring to improve implementation is an important issue for all instruments. General findings about the performance of policies are:
  • Integrating climate policies in broader development policies makes implementation and overcoming barriers easier.
  • Regulations and standards generally provide some certainty about emission levels. They may be preferable to other instruments when information or other barriers prevent producers and consumers from responding to price signals. However, they may not induce innovations and more advanced technologies.
  • Taxes and charges can set a price for carbon, but cannot guarantee a particular level of emissions. Literature identifies taxes as an efficient way of internalizing costs of GHG emissions.
  • Tradable permits will establish a carbon price. The volume of allowed emissions determines their environmental effectiveness, while the allocation of permits has distributional consequences. Fluctuation in the price of carbon makes it difficult to estimate the total cost of complying with emission permits.
  • Financial incentives (subsidies and tax credits) are frequently used by governments to stimulate the development and diffusion of new technologies. While economic costs are generally higher than for the instruments listed above, they are often critical to overcome barriers.
  • Voluntary agreements between industry and governments are politically attractive, raise awareness among stakeholders, and have played a role in the evolution of many national policies. The majority of agreements has not achieved significant emissions reductions beyond business as usual. However, some recent agreements, in a few countries, have accelerated the application of best available technology and led to measurable emission reductions.
  • Information instruments (e.g. awareness campaigns) may positively affect environmental quality by promoting informed choices and possibly contributing to behavioural change, however, their impact on emissions has not been measured yet.
  • RD&D can stimulate technological advances, reduce costs, and enable progress toward stabilization.
• Some corporations, local and regional authorities, NGOs and civil groups are adopting a wide variety of voluntary actions. These voluntary actions may limit GHG emissions, stimulate innovative policies, and encourage the deployment of new technologies. On their own, they generally have limited impact on the national or regional level emissions.

• Lessons learned from specific sector application of national policies and instruments are shown in Table 7 below (click to enlarge):

Policies that provide a real or implicit price of carbon could create incentives for producers and consumers to significantly invest in low-GHG products, technologies and processes. Such policies could include economic instruments, government funding and regulation (high agreement, much evidence).

• An effective carbon-price signal could realize significant mitigation potential in all sectors.

• Modelling studies show carbon prices rising to 20 to 80 US$/tCO2-eq by 2030 and 30 to 155 US$/tCO2-eq by 2050 are consistent with stabilization at around 550 ppm CO2-eq by 2100. For the same stabilization level, studies since TAR that take into account induced technological change lower these price ranges to 5 to 65 US$/tCO2eq in 2030 and 15 to 130 US$/tCO2-eq in 2050.

• Most top-down, as well as some 2050 bottom-up assessments, suggest that real or implicit carbon prices of 20 to 50 US$/tCO2-eq, sustained or increased over decades, could lead to a power generation sector with low-GHG emissions by 2050 and make many mitigation options in the end-use sectors economically attractive.

Barriers to the implementation of mitigation options are manifold and vary by country and sector. They can be related to financial, technological, institutional, informational and behavioural aspects.

Government support through financial contributions, tax credits, standard setting and market creation is important for effective technology development, innovation and deployment. Transfer of technology to developing countries depends on enabling conditions and financing (high agreement, much evidence).

• Public benefits of RD&D investments are bigger than the benefits captured by the private sector, justifying government support of RD&D.

• Government funding in real absolute terms for most energy research programmes has been flat or declining for nearly two decades (even after the UNFCCC came into force) and is now about half of the 1980 level.

• Governments have a crucial supportive role in providing appropriate enabling environment, such as, institutional, policy, legal and regulatory frameworks, to sustain investment flows and for effective technology transfer – without which it may be difficult to achieve emission reductions at a significant scale. Mobilizing financing of incremental costs of low-carbon technologies is important. International technology agreements could strengthen the knowledge infrastructure.

• The potential beneficial effect of technology transfer to developing countries brought about by Annex I countries action may be substantial, but no reliable estimates are available.

• Financial flows to developing countries through CDM ["Clean Development Mechanism"] projects have the potential to reach levels of the order of several billions US$ per year, which is higher than the flows through the Global Environment Facility (GEF), comparable to the energy oriented development assistance flows, but at least an order of magnitude lower than total foreign direct investment flows. The financial flows through CDM, GEF and development assistance for technology transfer have so far been limited and geographically unequally distributed.

Notable achievements of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto protocol are the establishment of a global response to the climate problem, stimulation of an array of national policies, the creation of an international carbon market and the establishment of new institutional mechanisms that may provide the foundation for future mitigation efforts (high agreement, much evidence).

• The impact of the protocol’s first commitment period relative to global emissions is projected to be limited. Its economic impacts on participating Annex-B countries are projected to be smaller than presented in TAR, that showed 0.2-2% lower GDP in 2012 without emissions trading, and 0.1-1.1% lower GDP with emissions trading among Annex-B countries.

The literature identifies many options for achieving reductions of global GHG emissions at the international level through cooperation. It also suggests that successful agreements are environmentally effective, cost-effective, incorporate distributional considerations and equity, and are institutionally feasible (high agreement, much evidence).

• Greater cooperative efforts to reduce emissions will help to reduce global costs for achieving a given level of mitigation, or will improve environmental effectiveness.

• Improving, and expanding the scope of, market mechanisms (such as emission trading, Joint Implementation and CDM) could reduce overall mitigation costs.

• Efforts to address climate change can include diverse elements such as emissions targets; sectoral, local, sub-national and regional actions; RD&D programmes; adopting common policies; implementing development oriented actions; or expanding financing instruments. These elements can be implemented in an integrated fashion, but comparing the efforts made by different countries quantitatively would be complex and resource intensive.

Actions that could be taken by participating countries can be differentiated both in terms of when such action is undertaken, who participates and what the action will be. Actions can be binding or non-binding, include fixed or dynamic targets, and participation can be static or vary over time.


Making development more sustainable by changing development paths can make a major contribution to climate change mitigation, but implementation may require resources to overcome multiple barriers. There is a growing understanding of the possibilities to choose and implement mitigation options in several sectors to realize synergies and avoid conflicts with other dimensions of sustainable development (high agreement, much evidence).

• Irrespective of the scale of mitigation measures, adaptation measures are necessary.

• Addressing climate change can be considered an integral element of sustainable development policies. National circumstances and the strengths of institutions determine how development policies impact GHG emissions. Changes in development paths emerge from the interactions of public and private decision processes involving government, business and civil society, many of which are not traditionally considered as climate policy. This process is most effective when actors participate equitably and decentralized decision making processes are coordinated.

• Climate change and other sustainable development policies are often but not always synergistic. There is growing evidence that decisions about macroeconomic policy, agricultural policy, multilateral development bank lending, insurance practices, electricity market reform, energy security and forest conservation, for example, which are often treated as being apart from climate policy, can significantly reduce emissions. On the other hand, decisions about improving rural access to modern energy sources for example may not have much influence on global GHG emissions.

• Climate change policies related to energy efficiency and renewable energy are often economically beneficial, improve energy security and reduce local pollutant emissions. Other energy supply mitigation options can be designed to also achieve sustainable development benefits such as avoided displacement of local populations, job creation, and health benefits.

• Reducing both loss of natural habitat and deforestation can have significant biodiversity, soil and water conservation benefits, and can be implemented in a socially and economically sustainable manner. Forestation and bioenergy plantations can lead to restoration of degraded land, manage water runoff, retain soil carbon and benefit rural economies, but could compete with land for food production and may be negative for biodiversity, if not properly designed.
There are also good possibilities for reinforcing sustainable development through mitigation actions in the waste management, transportation and buildings sectors.

• Making development more sustainable can enhance both mitigative and adaptive capacity, and reduce emissions and vulnerability to climate change. Synergies between mitigation and adaptation can exist, for example properly designed biomass production, formation of protected areas, land management, energy use in buildings and forestry. In other situations, there may be trade-offs, such as increased GHG emissions due to increased consumption of energy related to adaptive responses.

There are still relevant gaps in currently available knowledge regarding some aspects of mitigation of climate change, especially in developing countries. Additional research addressing those gaps would further reduce uncertainties and thus facilitate decision-making related to mitigation of climate change.

Uncertainty is an inherent feature of any assessment. The fourth assessment report clarifies the uncertainties associated with essential statements. Fundamental differences between the underlying disciplinary sciences of the three Working Group reports make a common approach impractical. The “likelihood” approach applied in "Climate change 2007, the physical science basis" and the “confidence” and “likelihood” approaches used in "Climate change 2007, impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability" were judged to be inadequate to deal with the specific uncertainties involved in this mitigation report, as here human choices are considered.
In this report a two-dimensional scale is used for the treatment of uncertainty. The scale is based on the expert judgment of the authors of WGIII on the level of concurrence in the literature on a particular finding (level of agreement), and the number and quality of independent sources qualifying under the IPCC rules upon which the finding is based (amount of evidence). This is not a quantitative approach, from which probabilities relating to uncertainty can be derived.

More information:
IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group III: Summary for Policy Makers [*.pdf] - May 4, 2007.


David said...

I thought you might be interested in this blog on the importance of soil impacts on carbon sequestration in forests. Disturbing Soil Has Disturbing Effects on Forest Carbon. It is based on a paper "Carbon sequestration and forest management" by Robert Jandl, Lars Vesterdal, Mats Olsson, Oliver Bens, Franz Badeck and Joachim Rock appears in CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources, 2007, 2, No. 017.

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