Special Alert: IPCC Working Group III


After the IPCC Working Group II (WG II) meeting in Yokohama, Japan, last week, the Tree team has put together a round-up of the key findings of the draft Working Group III (WG III) report, which will be officially launched in Berlin, Germany next week.

The findings of WG II has made climate science front page news. We hope that this alert helps you build on this momentum and get climate change back at the top of the global, national, regional and local political agenda around the world.


Human interference with the climate is occurring, that much is unequivocal. It is no longer a question of if climate change poses a risk to society, but rather of how best to manage the risk, what level of risk is deemed acceptable and the set of values upon which such judgements are made.

The IPCC’s Working Group I report – released in September 2013 – outlined the physical impacts of climate change, from higher temperatures to more extreme weather and rising sea levels. It also looked at how the physical impacts are likely to change in the future under different emissions scenarios.

The WGII report, launched last week in Yokohama, Japan, dealt with the risk to society from climate change. It highlighted that: the risks are real, wide-reaching and varied; uncertainty is no reason to delay action; poor and marginalised communities will be hit hardest; and no single adaptation solution fits all.

The final part of the IPCC report – from WG III – deals with the topic of mitigation, and will be launched on Sunday 13 April, in Berlin, Germany.

WG III at a glance: What are the key themes?

The four key themes from the WG III report are expected to be:

  • Action to address climate change is urgently needed
  • Large-scale changes to the global energy mix in conjunction with deep and fast emissions cuts are vital.
  • Renewable energies must be a significant part of this change.
  • The next two decades are full of opportunity for mitigation.

A final “synthesis report” bringing together the work of the three Working Groups will be released on 27-31 October 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark.


Key Points

Topline Messages

  • Society as we know it is at risk unless carbon emissions are cut rapidly. Climate change is real, caused by human activity, and happening now: sea levels are rising, precipitation patterns are changing, sea ice is declining and oceans are acidifying. These phenomena pose grave risks for our communities, environments and economies.

  • The report is expected to discuss a phase out of fossil fuels and a shift in energy investments. While global emissions are still growing, some modern and innovative economies have already beaten the trend – moving from dirty fossil fuels to renewable energies. Experts already argue that we need to phase out fossil fuels completely, and the IPCC’s take on this question will be important and influential.

  • Renewable energy can power our society, drive the economy, and give us cleaner air, resulting in a wide range of benefits such as new jobs, good business and improved public health. The clean energy transition is inevitable – people are demanding it, and governments must react and scale up faster.

  • The longer we delay actions to foster the low carbon transition, the more expensive addressing climate change will become. At the UN climate summit in September, world leaders must commit to deeper emissions cuts and to urgently shift finances from dirty to clean energies. This will lay the groundwork for the strong global climate treaty that is due in Paris in 2015.


From briefing documents, to recent coverage, infographics and videos, here are some key resources which could help you to better understand the IPCC process and aid your messaging over the coming week.

Recent Coverage

Recent Related News

Tools and Resources


Images, Graphics and Cartoons

For more great photos as well as a host of other resources check out the Tree’s Resource Library.

Debunking Tools


The latest IPCC reports are usually foreshadowed by a wave of misinformation aimed at discrediting the science and undermining the IPCC process. We have pulled together some of the best rebuttals to help with your own messaging surrounding the report. If you need more information or further help with more reactive materials and ad-hoc support with rebuttals, please contact Christian Teriete: christian.teriete@gmail.com

Debunking myths requires positive communication, but most importantly: a compelling, memorable fact that replaces the myth. Fight sticky myths with even stickier facts. To debunk a myth you usually have to mention it, running the risk of reinforcing it. So before you do, you should give an explicit warning about it to put the audience on guard. Finally, explaining how the myth distorts the facts will help resolve contradictions and dispel the myth. Explained here, and in detail here.

General rebuttals 

On economic impacts

On the “benefits” of climate change 

Useful Quotes

  • “These people — the Marshallese people — stand to lose everything [because of climate change]. You, the negotiators, have the opportunity to help prevent that from happening. I urge you all to put aside your well-polished negotiating positions and talking points, look each other straight in the eye, and try to find a meeting of minds. Unlike many world leaders, I know through personal experience just how real the threat and dangers are. The beaches of Buoj in Ailinglaplap, where I fished as a boy, are beginning to submerge, and the little island Anebok here in Majuro atoll, which our ambassador to the U.N. grew up on, has already been swallowed by the rising ocean.  I fear that life in the Marshall Islands may soon become like living in a war zone.” – Christopher Loeak, Marshall Islands President

  • “Already we are suffering extreme weather, storm surges, droughts, coral-bleaching, inundation of land and groundwater salination. We have no intention of leaving. This is a God-given land, we have a culture, a language, an identity and a heritage. We want to preserve Tokelau for future generations. We stand to lose the most of any country in the world due to climate change and the rising sea levels, so leading the way by making the highest per person investment in the world [in renewables] is a message to the world to do something.” – Foua Toloa from Tokelau, a small group of islands between Hawaii and New Zealand

  • “[Climate change is the] biggest threat to our planet [because of its impact on] food production, water resources and human welfare. By harnessing our natural assets of land, water and wind we can provide a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind and tidal energy resource and a tenth of its wave energy potential.The renewable revolution has the capacity to reindustrialize Scotland. By 2015-16, low carbon should be more than tenth of our economy, and we have the prospect of up to 60,000 new green jobs by 2020. – Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party

  • “The two central challenges facing us are climate change and resource scarcity. I think climate change is solvable – it is essentially a timing issue in terms of the world’s response and we need to speed up that response.” – Dr Steve Howard is the Chief Sustainability Officer for Ikea

  • “We set a goal of reducing the city’s carbon footprint by 30% by 2030 – and got more than halfway to that goal in just six years. Our mandates for energy efficiency on existing buildings are clearly the biggest achievement. Cities of all sizes, in every part of the world, are stepping up to confront climate change. And the progress is encouraging.” – Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York

  • “People living on the front line of climate change are the canaries in the climate coalmine. But their plight is more than just a warning of what many other parts of the world can expect.These are individuals paying the price for the actions of wealthy nations and people grown rich through continued dependence on polluting fossil fuels. It is vital that politicians hear their voices and heed the warnings of the IPCC and make tackling climate change a priority if we are to pass on a safe planet fit for future generations.” – Dr Alison Doig, Christian Aid’s Senior Climate Change Adviser

  • “Those who suffer most acutely from the menacing effects of climate change, such as the quilombolas of Brazil, or the pastoralists in northern Kenya, are those who have done least to contribute to it; and there is a deep injustice in this.Among all the facts and statistics, the summits and debates, it is essential for us to remember the specific human faces of those who suffer because of climate instability.Far from being a vague threat in the distant future, a warming world is very much a present reality, with global temperatures already having risen by 0.8°C since before the industrial revolution. Stronger storm surges, heavier rain, and scarcer resources are part of what countless people across the world live with daily, with far fewer resources to deal with it than we have in the developed world.” – Dr Rowan Williams, Chair of Christian Aid

  • “We are already seeing serious threats to health from heatwaves and bushfires in Australia, which are increasing due to climate change; but we know the worst impacts on health are being borne by those in developing nations. We can respond to this threat, and action now will prevent further harm. We call on our health and medical colleagues around the world to join us in demanding strong action to reduce emissions to limit these risks to health.” – Dr Liz Hanna, President, Climate and Health Alliance (Australia) 

  • “Human health is incredibly fragile in light of the threat that climate change poses. Mitigation efforts can have large health benefits – reducing the burning of fossil fuels and moving to cleaner energy sources can bring down the rates of important chronic diseases,  especially cardiopulmonary diseases and diabetes. For the EU as a whole, the anticipated benefits of an ambitious set of EU climate and energy targets could be as high as €34.5 billion – (equivalent to 0.21% of EU GDP).’ – Julia Huscher, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)

  • “The IPPC report along with the evidence we’re seeing on the ground in developing countries shows climate change is the single biggest threat to poverty reduction that exists today. It has the potential to undermine years of hard-won gains in improving the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. We have the means to end poverty within our lifetimes, but not if we don’t tackle climate change, by cutting our emissions and by helping poor people to cope with its impacts.” – Climate and Policy Analyst at CAFOD, Rob Elsworth

  • “Scientists are warning us, but they are not telling us to give up. The solutions are already here. A growing wave of people, communities, corporations and investors around the world are already making a difference by moving to clean and safe renewable energy and demanding governments to stand with them. There’s a better future than the one we are currently offered and it’s ours if we want to grasp it.”- Senior Political Advisor, Greenpeace International, Kaisa Kosonen 

  • “The costs of stabilising the climate are significant but manageable; delay would be dangerous and much more costly. ” – Stern Review 2006

  • “We need urgent support for adaptation, particularly in the poorest and most vulnerable countries, to stop millions more people from going hungry in the next two decades as a result of climate change impacts that are already locked in. This need not break the bank. Poor countries’ adaptation needs are estimated to be about $100bn a year – equivalent to just 5% of the wealth of the world’s richest 100 people.” – Philippines climate change commissioner Naderev M Saño

  • “This report is clear: the impact of climate change on food is worse than previously estimated. We have already seen significant declines in global yields for staple crops like wheat and maize and food price spikes linked to extreme weather, and the picture is set to get much worse. Without urgent action on both adaptation and emissions reduction, the goal of ensuring everyone has enough to eat may be lost forever. Political leaders should ask themselves whether this will be the generation to let that happen.” Head of Policy, Advocacy and Research for the GROW campaign, Oxfam International, Tim Gore

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