Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary

Fourth Assessment of Emissions Mitigation


About the Cyberlibrary

The Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary was developed by Mick Kelly and Sarah Granich on behalf of the Stockholm Environment Institute and the International Institute for Environment and Development, with sponsorship from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

While every effort is made to ensure that information on this site, and on other sites that are referenced here, is accurate, no liability for loss or damage resulting from use of this information can be accepted.

The third report of the Fourth Assessment on climate science and policy by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, covering mitigation options, was finalized in May 2007. Newswatch editor Mick Kelly reports.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the third report in its latest assessment of climate science and policy on May 4th in Bangkok, Thailand. The Working Group III review covers means of limiting the rise in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. It concludes that the cost of climate-control measures can be relatively small and might even benefit the economy, but warns that emissions must start declining by the year 2015 to prevent global temperature rising more than two degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline. "The time to act is now," Chartree Chueyprasit of Thailand's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment told government officials and scientists as they met to finalize the text.

The IPCC assessment notes that a wide range of technological options, already available and under development, can be deployed to limit global warming. "The most important thing is to improve energy efficiency," commented Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a member of the Belgian delegation. "There is a lot of energy wasted everywhere in the world," he continued. Other options include converting from coal to natural gas, greater use of renewable energy and the safe deployment of nuclear power. The report also advocates making buildings more energy-efficient and motor vehicles more fuel-efficient, reducing deforestation and tree planting to absorb carbon. Hans Verolme of WWF said that "the IPCC has delivered a road map for keeping the planet safe. Now it's the turn of politicians to do more than pay just lip service."

In the United States, the Bush administration welcomed the range of climate mitigation options defined by the report, but did express serious reservations about the more expensive scenarios that could cut world gross domestic product by three per cent. "There are measures that come currently at an extremely high cost because of the lack of available technology," warned James Connaughton, head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. "Well, that would of course cause global recession, so that is something that we probably want to avoid," he continued.

There had been considerable debate over the final wording of the report. "It's especially troubling that the Bush administration was seeking last-minute changes to play down the report's conclusion that quick, affordable action can limit the worst effects of global warming," said Larry Schweiger, president of the National Wildlife Federation. Chinese delegates had been "masters of deception and the art of interpretation," according to a German environment ministry official, in arguing that it would cost more and be much harder to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than the draft report suggested.

The review's endorsement of nuclear technology was strongly opposed by some environmentalists. "Nuclear power threatens humans and the environment. It is not necessary to combat climate change," said Brent Blackwelder of Friends of the Earth. Greenpeace accused the IPCC of underestimating the impact of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. "Denying the real implications is not only insulting to the thousands of victims, but it also leads to dangerous recommendations," said Greenpeace's Ivan Blokov.

Bright Ideas

GE cuts solar costs

General Electric plans to cut solar installation costs by half

Project 90 by 2030

Project 90 by 2030 supports South African school children and managers reduce their carbon footprint through its Club programme

Smart street lighting

Bath & North East Somerset Council in the United Kingdom has installed smart LED carriageway lighting that automatically adjusts to light and traffic levels

Longwood Gardens

The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Public Gardens Association are mounting an educational exhibit at Longwood Gardens showing the link between temperature and planting zones

Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers

The energy-efficient Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers hotel is powered by renewable and sustainable sources, including integrated solar photovoltaics and guest-powered bicycles

El Hierro

El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands, plans to generate 80 per cent of its energy from renewable sources

Remarkables Primary School green roof

The green roof on the Remarkables Primary School in New Zealand reduces stormwater runoff, provides insulation and doubles as an outdoor classroom

Weather Info for All

The Weather Info for All project aims to roll out up to five thousand automatic weather observation stations throughout Africa


SolSource turns its own waste heat into electricity or stores it in thermal fabrics, harnessing the sun's energy for cooking and electricity for low-income families

Wave House

The Wave House uses vegetation for its architectural and environmental qualities, and especially in terms of thermal insulation

Mbale compost-processing plant

The Mbale compost-processing plant in Uganda produces cheaper fertilizer and reduces greenhouse gas emissions

Frito-Lay Casa Grande

At Casa Grande, Frito-Lay has reduced energy consumption by nearly a fifth since 2006 by, amongst other things, installing a heat recovery system to preheat cooking oil

More Bright Ideas...

Updated: May 15th 2015