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“Energy Sufficiency” is the good news of recent Synthesis Report released by IPCC

One highlight from the Synthesis Report, which closes the 6th Assessment Report (AR6) cycle by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is that the responsible use of energy becomes the real challenge, more than its sustainable production, according to climate change expert Benoit Lebot.

Climate change expert Benoit Lebot, currently senior policy advisor for the French Ministry of Ecological Transition with a long history of service in international climate and energy-related organisations. (Photo: Linkedin/Benoit Lebot)

A senior policy advisor for France’s Ministry of Ecological Transition, and more recently the head of the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation’s (IPEEC) Secretariat, Mr Lebot hailed the recent publication of AR6 as ending all controversy on anthropogenic climate change.
“We have a much better understanding of the reality of climate change compared to 25 years ago.”
“No more ambiguity, end of the controversy” Mr Lebot emphasised.

Since the first IPCC report published in 1990, much has changed in terms of awareness on global warming and climate change, although countries have not kept pace with increased global temperatures.

One aspect that has driven climate change is the use of fossil fuels and consequently, an increase in CO2 and other greenhouse gases’ emissions.

Although there is an increasing turn towards cleaner, more sustainable and diversified energy supplies. These range from renewable energy sources such hydropower, to wind, solar, geothermal and even biomass.

“It is important to make sure renewables will be able to replace fossil fuels,” Mr Lebot told Breakthough Press.

The entire AR6 and its final touch - the Synthesis Report, Mr Lebot said, not only summarised previous reports from the current IPCC reporting cycle, but also introduced new key concepts such as “energy sufficiency”.

This term, Mr Lebot explained, was less an issue of whether energy was produced in a sustainable or renewable manner, but more on how the energy produced was used.

Going a step further, Mr Lebot also defined additional terms such as “material efficiency”, meaning to make the best use of any material, and that “material use” should be the “the first step for every decision to be made.”

In short, “it is necessary to adjust the way we use energy,” he said.

According to Mr Lebot, the Synthesis Report highlights the concept of “energy sufficiency”.

This means that beside investing in green energy sources, similar investments need to be made in ensuring more efficient energy consumption. This concept will gain more prominence next year, Mr Lebot added.

Background on the Synthesis Report

The recent Synthesis Report released last March gathers major previous reports, which collectively constitute the sixth IPCC reporting cycle, or AR6 since 1990.

The IPCC’s Working Group Bureau selects the authors of the reports from UN member states’ governments nominations, to guarantee unbiased and neutral results. This panel’s membership is constantly rotated, and comprises experts from diverse sectors and industries globally.

Current IPCC chairperson Dr Hoesung Lee said the Synthesis report was “a message of hope”.
“This is despite the tremendous climate change challenge we face today. A subtle way to remove the fear factor who proved inefficiency in raising awareness, but without neglecting the emergency that we are facing,” Dr Lee said, during the release of the Synthesis Report.

What is the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6)?

AR6 comprises six reports, starting in 2021 with “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis”, which explored the physical science on climate change. This was followed by two more reports in 2022, the second which delivered observations and estimates of global warming, and the third exploring climate change adaptation and mitigation of its effects.

In addition to these first three reports, the IPCC also included three shorter assessments released in 2018 and 2019, which focused on the 1.5°C increase in global temperatures from pre-industrial levels, climate change on land, as well as its effects in the Earth’s oceans and cryosphere (sea ice, polar caps and glaciers).

“This Synthesis Report underscores the urgency of taking more ambitious action & shows that, if we act now, we can still secure a liveable sustainable future for all” Dr Lee said, back in March.

The Synthesis Report is the last publication issued before 2030, which is a crucial waypoint in marking any significant improvements or efforts towards keeping global temperatures from rising beyond the critical threshold of 1.5°C.

Any effort towards mitigation or adaptation should temperature go beyond this threshold would be significantly more costly, and less effective.

Since the Synthesis Report’s publication on March 20, Breakthrough Press’ editorial team has reached out to experts for more details and perspectives on its import and conclusions.

Besides energy sufficiency, Mr Lebot gives his perspectives on five major insights that the recent Synthesis Report bears out, as well as some hopeful news in the end.


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