By Heleen de Coninck, Radboud University / Eindhoven University of Technology
On April 4th, the IPCC released the contribution of Working Group III on climate change mitigation to the Sixth Assessment Report. It made headlines around the world, with key messages including that we are not on track to limit warming to 1.5C or even 2C, but that it’s still possible to limit warming to 1.5C if immediate action is taken, and that mitigation needs to be accelerated and appropriately governed to be in line with 1.5C.
The report also flagged the relevance of justice in those fast transitions, and the mainly synergetic interaction with the Sustainable Development Goals – climate change mitigation is an inalienable part of sustainable development, but mitigation cannot work well without sustainable development, justice and equity.
CO2 capture and storage (CCS) is mentioned a total of 33 times in the government-approved Summary for Policymakers, in the context of integrated assessment modelling, the energy sector, prolonging the lifetime of fossil fuels, preventing stranded assets, the industry sector, and, in combination with direct air capture or biomass, for carbon dioxide removal.
It was a subject of considerable debate, which led to a paragraph in the energy section (C4) of the Summary for Policymakers that aims to give a balanced treatment of the advantages, risks, benefits and trade-offs of CCS. In addition, the short-term cost and potential of CCS was discussed (it is fairly small compared to other options) and the sustainable development synergies and trade-offs, which are mixed, with synergies mainly occurring in well-being and innovation, while the trade-offs included considerations around water use.