The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the body of scientists tasked with reporting to the UNFCCC (that’s the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) every 5 or 6 years. There are three working groups within the IPCC that work on:

  1. The science of climate change. What’s happened to the climate and what could happen next?
  2. The impact of climate change. What dangers are we facing?
  3. Mitigation. What can we do to limit the damage?

It’s working group 3 (WG3) that have just reported today (WG1 reported last November, if I remember correctly, and WG2 reported back in February). Oh, and this set of three reports is the 6th one since the whole process was set up in the early 1990s hence 6th assessment report (AR6).

So, that’s what the jargon means but what does the report actually say? Well, so far, I’ve only scanned through the “summary for policy makers” but I’m looking in particular for items that relate directly to CCL policies of carbon pricing, dividends and border adjustments. You can read about the other aspects of the report (e.g. it’s increased emphasis on carbon dioxide capture) elsewhere in the many media reports you’re going to see over the next few days.

So what’s in it of relevance to CCL policy? For a start they assess the costs of tackling climate change and conclude that a price of $100/tonne of CO2(eq) would halve emissions in 2030 compared to 2019. Even a price of $20/tonne would drop emissions by 25% by the end of this decade. That’s a pretty big endorsement of carbon pricing and the prices are close to those we’d propose to introduce. The report also states that the net benefits of avoided climate damage outweigh the costs to economies of these carbon prices.

And then, towards the end, the summary for policy makers starts to get really interesting! On page 61 it states that “Economic instruments have been effective in reducing emissions, complemented by regulatory instruments mainly at the national and also sub-national and regional level (high confidence). Where implemented, carbon pricing instruments have incentivized low-cost emissions reduction measures, but have been less effective, on their own and at prevailing prices during the assessment period, to promote higher-cost measures necessary for further reductions (medium confidence). Equity and distributional impacts of such carbon pricing instruments can be addressed by using revenue from carbon taxes or emissions trading to support low-income households, among other approaches (high confidence).

That’s all I’ve found so far but I’ll look in more depth over coming days.