IPCC WG3: Reaction as UN launches third climate report

Views from John Kerry, Christiana Figueres, Ed Davey plus leading NGOs and business groups


US Secretary of State John Kerry: “Unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy. Denial of the science is malpractice. There are those who say we can’t afford to act. But waiting is truly unaffordable. The costs of inaction are catastrophic.”

Sir Brian Hoskins, director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College London: “The science shows us that we need substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions if we are to limit the risks posed by climate change… Potential competitiveness issues, affecting a small number of very energy intensive industries, can be handled. We should stop wringing our hands and just get on with it.”

UK climate and energy chief Ed Davey: “The tools we need to tackle climate change are available but international efforts need to significantly increase if dangerous temperature rise is to be avoided. The longer we leave it, the more expensive it will be to avoid the worst effects of climate change.”

Professor Lord Stern, London School of Economics: “The transition to sustainable low-carbon economic development and growth is an opportunity not just to avoid potentially catastrophic climate risks, but also to reap other benefits from cleaner and more efficient technologies, such as reductions in local air pollution. If we embark on such a transition, we are likely to discover new technologies and ways of organising production, consumption and cities that would bring costs down radically.”

Mary Robinson, former Ireland President: “This IPCC report tells us that we can act and that we must act. It explains that it is possible to reduce our dependency on fossil fuel consumption, transition to a low-carbon economy and that there are co-benefits in doing so. I argue that we must also ensure that the transition is fair; the actions taken must respect the right to development and not impact adversely on the most vulnerable.”

Business groups

Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, representing Acciona, Coca-Cola Enterprises, EDF Energy, Shell, Tesco and Unilever: “[The] signatories urge policy makers to take a number of significant actions in line with the science of the IPCC, including setting a timeline for phasing out greenhouse gas emissions before the end of the century, designing a credible strategy to transform the energy system, and creating a plan to manage reliance on fossil fuels, especially coal.”

Stephanie Pfeifer, Chief Executive of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, representing 88 of Europe’s largest investors worth €7.5 trillion: “At the UN summit in September, world leaders can agree the basis for a global climate deal which signals a serious, long-term commitment to a climate framework which supports low-carbon investment. Acting now to put the world on a low-carbon growth path is achievable, economically beneficial, and will help economies avoid the substantial adaptation costs and large uncertainties faced in the event of severe climate change.”

Jonathan Grant, director, sustainability and climate change, PwC: “Delayed action on climate change and reducing our emissions tends to involve a substantially more difficult pathway from 2030 onwards, or have a larger reliance on carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies which are today in their infancy (i.e. bioenergy with CCS or even geoengineering). PwC’s Low Carbon Economy Index(LCEI) estimated that we could limit emissions to around 30 GtCO2e by 2030 through reducing carbon intensity by 6% a year, every year. This has never been achieved globally and even in 2012 our analysis questioned the viability of the 2 degree target without a radical economic and policy transformation.”

Mark Kenber, Climate Group: “What is now beyond doubt is that the clean tech sector is an attractive proposition for any investor: the global market is now worth more than US$2.56 trillion a year, and is expected to be valued at more than US$5.13 trillion by the mid-2020s. Just less than the combined GDPs of Germany and France. A ‘clean revolution’ is good news for consumers too – solar energy currently costs the same as electricity generated by coal and gas in many countries such as Germany, Italy and Mexico, with the cost trajectory on an ongoing downward path.”

Green groups:

Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth UK: “The focus for climate action must be on proven technologies which won’t jeopardise food production and wildlife and are viable options in the future. Bioenergy may have a limited role to play in our energy supply, but carbon capture and storage remains unproven on a large scale.”

Greg Archer, Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment: “Thanks to EU regulations CO2 emissions from new cars are now falling, but the progress on trucks and vans is glacial. The IPCC report stresses the urgency of taking new initiatives to tackle vehicle emissions, but the European Commission’s response is to repeatedly delay promised strategies to regulate car and van emissions after 2020 and to start addressing soaring emissions from trucks.”

Jennifer Morgan, WRI: “World leaders can take decisive actions, like limiting power plant emissions in the United States to capping coal use in China. In the lead up to the UN climate summit in September, government officials can announce concrete steps to shape a low-carbon future. Governments can deliver strong commitments that will lead to an ambitious, universal climate agreement by 2015.”

Lidy Nacpil, Philippines of the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice: “Southern organizations and movements decry this pollution, and fossil fuel energy consumption being made in the name of the people. Developing countries must undertake their fair share of mitigation actions, in addition to assuming the balance of the share of the rich countries with finance and technology in order for the whole world to avoid devastating climate change.”

Jamie Henn 350: “The report makes it clear that in order to meet their agreed goal of keeping global warming below 2°C, governments need to get serious about leaving fossil fuels in the ground. That means stopping carbon-intensive infrastructure projects, like the Keystone XL pipeline, and shifting investments out of the fossil fuel industry and into solutions.”

Christian Aid UK: ‘The Prime Minister has shown real leadership on aid, but the prospects for development in the poorest countries will wither and die without resolute action on climate. After the EU’s unacceptable delay in agreeing its climate commitments last March, the Prime Minister must convince his EU counterparts to get things back on track and bring an ambitious offer to the UN Secretary General’s climate summit in New York in September.’

Dr Stephan Singer, WWF director of global energy policy: “Renewable energy can no longer be considered a niche market. Renewables must – and should – eventually take the full share of the global energy market within the next few decades. We know that solutions exist and global climate action makes sense.”

CARE International’s Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator Sven Harmeling: “From investing in renewable energy to improving energy efficiency and driving behavioural change in richer parts of the world, governments need to pursue far more rigorous measures all-round if they are going to limit the scale of the growing climate catastrophe for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

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