Households in top 10% contribute largest share to GHG emission: IPCC

Updated on Apr 07, 2022 05:43 AM IST

Action is happening some countries where there is reduction in GHG emissions and consumption-based CO2 emissions in absolute terms for at least 10 years

India expressed concerns about the quality of the IPCC report and said that the summary for policy makers of the report approved greenhouse gas (GHG) emission flows by regions from 1990, even though multiple databases go back to 1850. (REUTERS)
India expressed concerns about the quality of the IPCC report and said that the summary for policy makers of the report approved greenhouse gas (GHG) emission flows by regions from 1990, even though multiple databases go back to 1850. (REUTERS)
ByJayashree Nandi, New Delhi

Globally, households with income in the top 10% contribute to about 36-45% of global consumption-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in its Working Group III report titled “Mitigation of Climate Change” released on Monday.

About two-thirds of this top 10% live in developed countries and one third in other economies. “The lifestyle consumption emissions of the middle income and poorest citizens in emerging economies are between 5-50 times below their counterparts in high-income countries. Increasing inequality within a country can exacerbate dilemmas of redistribution and social cohesion and affect the willingness of the rich and poor to accept policies to protect the environment and accept and afford lifestyle changes that favour mitigation,” the report stated.

IPCC authors who spoke at a webinar titled “Unpacking the IPCC WGIII report on Mitigation of Climate Change”, organised by the Centre for Policy Research, said addressing equity will be key to the successful implementation of climate change solutions.

“We are not on track to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C that has been very well documented in the report…emissions in 2019 are about 12% higher than they were in 2010 and 54% higher than in 1990. Co2 emissions from existing and planned fossil fuel infrastructure exceed the cumulative emissions consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C…Global emissions are inequal which is very well documented in the report,” said Youba Sokona, Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Special Advisor for Sustainable Development at the South Centre, Switzerland.

“Households with income in the top 10% contribute 36-45% of GHG emissions, while those with incomes in the bottom 50% contribute 13-15%. The majority of the lower 50% of emitters live in Africa, Southern and South-East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. About 2/3 of the top 10% live in Developed Countries,” he added, explaining that law, policy and adequate finance can address these inequities.

Next few years will be critical for climate action and explicit attention to equity is a must for success of climate policies. However, there is increased evidence of climate action. Action is happening some countries where there is reduction in GHG emissions and consumption-based CO2 emissions in absolute terms for at least 10 years.

Reduced cost of wind and solar has led to enhanced deployment of renewable energy and increase of energy efficiency, he said. From 2010–2019, there have been sustained decreases in the unit costs of solar energy (85%), wind energy (55%), and lithium-ion batteries (85%) which has led to large increases in their deployment, the report has said.

Keywan Riahi, IPCC WGIII Coordinating Lead Author, Chapter 3 (Mitigation pathways compatible with long-term goals), and Director of the Energy, Climate and Environment Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria said country pledges for 2030 are too weak. Present NDCs push limiting warming to 1.5 degree C out of reach and NDCs also increase the challenges and costs of reaching the 2 degree C goal.

“There are options available now in every sector that can at least halve emissions by 2030 then we can also meet the 1.5 degree C goal. It shows opportunities as to how we can implement solutions,” said Joyashree Roy, IPCC WGIII Coordinating Lead Author, Chapter 5 (Demand, services and social aspects of mitigation),

Bangabandhu Chair Professor at Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, and Professor of Economics, Jadavpur University. She said there are feasible solutions in energy supply, land use, urban building and transport. IPCC for the first time has a chapter on demand side management of services.

“People want services to meet their needs for wellbeing…if people are provided choice there is untapped potential which can help in bringing down emissions. We assessed 60 such solution which include reducing air travel, efficient houses, balanced plant-based diets, electric vehicles, compact cities etc,” she added.

The Third World Network reported on Wednesday that there was extensive debate among member countries about certain aspects of the IPCC report which led to a delayed approval of the report.

The approval meeting of 195 governments and scientists which was initially scheduled to end on April 1 spilled over by two days. Third World Network was an observer to the discussions that went on. Among some of the most contentious issues include models chosen for assessment not reflecting equity and regional differentiation; databases chosen that consider 1990 as the base year for cumulative historical emissions of GHGs rather than 1850; text around categorisation of countries into developed and developing countries; text around finance; costs of mitigation options etc.

India expressed concerns about the quality of the report and said that the summary for policy makers of the report approved greenhouse gas (GHG) emission flows by regions from 1990, even though multiple databases go back to 1850.

The database chosen for the WGIII report goes back to 1970, and the choice for using 1990 as the base year is something we did not get an explanation for, India submitted at the meeting, TWN said.

India also said that the scenarios chosen for the SPM do not consider global equity and regionally differentiated mitigation based on principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities. Several experts have also acknowledged that the issue of equity is better reflected in the technical and main report than in the 64 page summary for policy makers approved by governments following a two-week closed door approval session. Officials from union environment ministry declined to comment on the closed door meeting proceedings.

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