The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today released their Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC. The IPCC is the leading world body for assessing the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options.
This report contains many important messages about the steps which need to be taken to avoid dangerous climate change, and also key references to the role of hydrogen in meeting global climate targets.
The report recognises that electrification, hydrogen, bio-based feedstocks and substitution, and in several cases carbon dioxide capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), would lead to the deep emissions reductions required in energy-intensive industry to limit warming to 1.5°C. In energy-intensive processing industries, 1.5ºC-compatible trajectories require radical technology innovation through maximum electrification, shift to other low-emission energy carriers such as hydrogen or biomass, integration of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and innovations for Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU).
Jim Skea, co-chair of IPCC Working Group III, said “We can keep global warming below 1.5 °C. It’s possible within the laws of physics and chemistry, but it will require huge transitions in all sorts of systems.”
The IPCC report also highlights mitigation pathways compatible with 1.5°C in the context of sustainable development, and recognises the role hydrogen can play in meeting key climate targets:
– one approach is to dramatically reduce and electrify energy demand for transportation and manufacturing to levels that make residual non-electric fuel use negligible or replaceable by limited amounts of electrolytic hydrogen.
– other approaches rely less on energy demand reductions, but employ cheap renewable electricity to push the boundaries of electrification in the industry and transport sectors. In addition, these approaches deploy renewable-based Power-2-X (read: Power to “x”) technologies to substitute residual fossil-fuel use.
– an important element of carbon-neutral Power-2-X applications is the combination of hydrogen generated from renewable electricity and CO2 captured from the atmosphere.
This IPCC special report will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December 2018, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change. “With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.
Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015. The report’s full name is Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C 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.
For access to all of the chapters of the IPCC special report please go to http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/