An Evaluation of the IPCC WG III Assessments

  • Martin Kowarsch
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 323)


This chapter identifies some challenges, strengths and weaknesses of Working Group (WG) III contributions to the Assessment Reports (ARs) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The focus is on the Fourth (AR4) and Fifth (AR5) assessment cycle of the IPCC. For this purpose, the evaluation criteria and heuristic tools developed in Part II are employed, along with the results of the critical analysis of the underlying economics in Chaps.  7,  8 and  9. Evaluating the IPCC WG III contributions in this way will help us identify the appropriate means of improving IPCC assessments. This chapter argues that in the AR4, both the policy-relevance and the transparency of ethically relevant assumptions could have been higher. This may partly result from the adherence to misguided science-policy models. The AR5 was an improvement in these regards, but faced challenges inter alia in terms of (i) considerable research gaps regarding retrospective, social-science policy analysis, and (ii) political disputes over value-laden findings with far-reaching implications for domestic policies. All things considered, however, both the AR4 and the AR5 did a good job. In contrast to some existing criticisms, there is no clear case of a considerable hidden bias in these WG III ARs, for instance towards more ambitious global mitigation goals.


Climate Policy Policy Option Climate Change Mitigation Mitigation Option Mitigation Cost 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Kowarsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC)BerlinGermany

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