This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 16, 2014

IPCC: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accelerate Globally

A new report released April 13 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that global emissions of greenhouse gases have risen to unprecedented levels despite a growing number of policies to reduce climate change. Emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades.

According to the Working Group III contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, it would be possible, using a wide array of technological measures and changes in behavior, to limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. However, only major institutional and technological change will give a better than even chance that global warming will not exceed this threshold. Scenarios outlined in the report show that to have a likely chance of limiting the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius, mid-century global greenhouse gas emissions should be lowered by 40% to 70% compared with 2010, and to near-zero by the end of this century

The report, entitled Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, is the third of three Working Group reports, which, along with a Synthesis Report due in October 2014, constitute the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report on climate change. For the report, about 1,200 scenarios from scientific literature have been analyzed. These scenarios were generated by 31 modelling teams around the world to explore the economic, technological, and institutional prerequisites and implications of mitigation pathways with different degrees of ambition. Cutting emissions from electricity production to near zero is a common feature of ambitious mitigation scenarios, but using energy more efficiently is also important. See the IPCC news release PDF, access the the full report, and the Energy Department statement.