EPA statement on the publication of the IPCC Working Group III report: Climate Change 2022 Mitigation of Climate Change

Date released: April 05, 2022

  • The average annual global greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest levels in human history in the period 2010-2019, but the rate of growth has slowed.
  • Policies and laws have enhanced energy efficiency, reduced rates of deforestation and accelerated the deployment of renewable energy.
  • To limit warming to around 1.5°C global greenhouse gas emissions are required to peak before 2025 at the latest and be reduced by 43% by 2030; at the same time, methane also needs to be reduced by about a third.
  • The next few years are critical for actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • There are options in all sectors to at least halve emissions by 2030.
  • Major transitions in the energy sector are required to limit global warming. This will include a reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency, and use of alternative fuels.

5th April 2022: The EPA welcomes the publication of Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of climate change from Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as part of its 6th Assessment Report.

Laura Burke, EPA Director General, said:

“This landmark report outlines the nature and extent of the causes of climate change at a global level and reinforces the urgent need for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are options for emissions reductions across all sectors and in particular the need for major transitions in the energy sector.”

She added that “The EPA’s latest greenhouse gas Inventory numbers show that Ireland’s 2013-2020 EU Effort Sharing (ESD) emissions reduction target was missed by a wide margin despite the COVID impact on 2020 emissions. The limited reduction in Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions, at a time of profound change to economic and social activity, highlights the scale of action needed across all parts of Ireland’s economy and society to meet the target of 51 per cent emissions reduction by 2030 set within the 2021 Climate Act and meet our EU and global commitments.”

Commenting on the report Frank McGovern, EPA Chief Climate Scientist, said:

“This IPCC report shows that we need to scale up our efforts in order to achieve the required transitions. A lot of lessons have been learned about the effectiveness of responses over the last decade. However, the biggest lesson is that addressing climate change is not an add-on to existing systems and structures; rather it means rethinking and reworking these so that climate action is central to planning, investments and operations. This needs to be enabled and supported by governments and institutions.”

He added that “the global trends show that climate change is happening, including the temperature records, sea-level rise and loss of ice from the polar regions and Greenland Ice shelf”.

Additional information

The EPA lead for Ireland at the IPCC plenary meeting that signed off on the IPCC Working Group III report and, in the development, and coordination of national climate change research in Ireland. It works with other agencies and research bodies in development of key climate related observations including observations of greenhouse gases, aerosols, river flows and freshwater levels.

The EPA has supported work on the 6th Climate Modelling Inter-comparison Project (CMIP-6) used throughout this IPCC report through the work of Dr Paul Nolan in ICHEC.

The EPA hosts the Climate Ireland information portal which provides interactive access to climate information for Ireland.

Notes for editors

About the IPCC
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide political leaders with periodic scientific assessments concerning climate change. It has 195 member states.

Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. For the assessment reports, experts volunteer their time as IPCC authors to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.

The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I, dealing with the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II, dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III, dealing with the mitigation of climate change. It also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for estimating emissions and removals of greenhouse gases.

IPCC assessments provide governments, at all levels, with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC assessments are a key input into the international negotiations to tackle climate change. IPCC reports are drafted and reviewed in several stages, thus guaranteeing objectivity and transparency.

About the Sixth Assessment Cycle

Comprehensive scientific assessment reports are published every 6 to 7 years; In February 2015, the IPCC decided to produce a Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). In April 2016, it decided to produce three Special Reports, a Methodology Report and AR6.

The Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis was released on 9 August 2021. The Working Group II contribution, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, was released on 28 February 2022. The concluding Synthesis Report is due in autumn 2022.

The IPCC has also published three Special Reports. On Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty was launched in October 2018.
Climate Change and Land, an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems was launched in August 2019.

The Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate was released in September 2019.

In May 2019 the IPCC released the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories an update to the methodology used by governments to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions and removals.