Leaked IPCC Updates

In June, the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) released a 20-page guide which summarizes the most pertinent findings relating to workers and employment in the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate Change: Implications for Employment is available from http://www.etui.org/Publications2/Guides/Climate-change-Implications-for-employment.

In late August, news media obtained a leaked version of the IPCC draft Synthesis Report of the AR5, scheduled for official release in November. While the facts are unchanged from the three reports it summarizes, the tone was reported to be blunter and more “stark”. See Bloomberg News at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-26/irreversible-damage-seen-from-climate-change-in-un-leak.html or the New York Times at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/27/science/earth/greenhouse-gas-emissions-are-growing-and-growing-more-dangerous-draft-of-un-report-says.html?ref=science&_r=4.

The leaked draft emphasizes the need for urgent action – a point also made by in the July 31 report from the U.S. Council of Economic Advisors. See The Cost of Delaying Action to Stem Climate Change at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/the_cost_of_delaying_action_to_stem_climate_change.pdf.



Links to IPCC 5th Assessment Reports, and Reactions

If somehow you missed the release of the two reports from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment, you will find Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaption, and Vulnerability (released March 31st) at:
http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/. The second report, Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change (released on April 13th) is available at: http://mitigation2014.org/. The final Synthesis Report is scheduled for release in October 2014. What follows is a series of links to summaries and reaction, especially with a Canadian viewpoint. “UN report highlights urgency of near-term carbon cutting” (April 13) in the Globe and Mail at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/world-losing-ground-in-climate-battle-says-un-body/article17949953/; “Only with Political Will can we Avoid the Worst” from David Suzuki at: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/science-matters/2014/04/only-with-political-will-can-we-avoid-the-worst-of-climate-change/; “Dear Fossil Fuel Industry, It’s Over” at the Greenpeace Canada website at: http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/Blog/dear-fossil-fuel-industry-its-over/blog/48924/. There was no response from Environment Canada or the Prime Minister’s office.

From the U.S., several items from the New York Times are at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/01/opinion/climate-signals-growing-louder.html?emc=edit_th_20140401&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=67440933&_r=0, and http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/science/earth/un-climate-panel-warns-speedier-action-is-needed-to-avert-disaster.html?emc=edit_th_20140414&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=67440933&_r=0, with a widely cited OpEd on April 17th by Paul Krugman, “Salvation gets Cheap”, at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/opinion/krugman-salvation-gets-cheap.html?_r=0. From the U.K., The Guardian summary of U.K. reaction is at: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/2014/apr/14/climate-change-report-reactions-to-the-final-instalment-of-the-ipcc-analysis, and a portal to all Guardian coverage of the IPCC reports is at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ipcc.

Divestment Still a Necessary Strategy as ExxonMobil Reports on Stranded Assets

The largest oil and gas company in the world, ExxonMobil, agreed under pressure from activist shareholders to publish a “Carbon Asset Risk” report on their website, to provide information to shareholders on the risks that stranded assets pose to the company’s business model, and how the company is planning for a low-carbon world. Stranded assets for Exxon are the carbon reserves which would need to remain in the ground if the world were to follow a carbon budget to keep below 2 degrees of global warming.

Some environmentalists are claiming this transparency as a victory – GreenBiz described it as “a pivotal milestone on the road to a low-carbon economy”. Bill McKibben, noting that the Exxon report was released on the same day as the IPCC Report, said it is “probably at least as important in the ongoing battle over the future of the atmosphere”. But McKibben sees “consummate arrogance” in Exxon’s statement that “we are confident that none of our hydrocarbon reserves are now or will become stranded”. For McKibben, the solution remains a divestment campaign – a strategy that Archbishop Desmond Tutu also urged in an April essay in The Guardian.

See “Exxon, Stranded Assets and the New Math” at GreenBiz: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/03/24/exxon-stranded-assets-and-new-math, and an article in the Wall Street Journal Market Watch at: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/landmark-agreement-with-shareholders-exxonmobil-agrees-to-report-on-climate-change-carbon-asset-risk-2014-03-20. But see also Bill McKibben’s article in The Guardian on April 3rd, “Exxon Mobil’s Response to Climate Change is Consummate Arrogance” at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/03/exxon-mobil-climate-change-oil-gas-fossil-fuels?CMP=twt_fd&utm_content=bufferfc5c8&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer, and Desmond Tutu, “We Need an Apartheid-style Boycott to Save the Planet” at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/10/divest-fossil-fuels-climate-change-keystone-xl.

For an overview of Stranded Assets, see Unburnable Carbon: Wasted Capital and Stranded Assets at:

Official IPCC 5th Report Releases Begin Sept. 27

The Fifth Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be released soon, starting with the Working Group I report on the Physical Sciences, on September 27, and concluding in October 2014 with the Synthesis Report. See http://www.ipcc.ch/ for a schedule and for links to the official documentation and background information. A draft of the report, leaked in August, prompted a flurry of news coverage: for example, see the New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/20/science/earth/extremely-likely-that-human-activity-is-driving-climate-change-panel-finds.html?pagewanted=all.