IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

7.5 Short- and medium-term mitigation potential and cost

Limited information is available on mitigation potential and cost[9] in industry, but it is sufficient to develop a global estimate for the industrial sector. Available studies vary widely with respect to system boundaries, baseline, time period, subsectors included, completeness of mitigation measures included, and economic factors (e.g., costs and discount rates). In many cases study assumptions are not specified, making it impossible to adjust the studies to a common basis, or to quantify overall uncertainty. A full discussion of the basis for evaluating costs in this report appears in Chapter 2.5.

Table 7.8 presents an assessment of the industry-specific literature. Mitigation potential and cost for industrial CO2 emissions were estimated as follows:

(1) Price et al. (2006)’s estimates for 2030 production rate by industry and geographic area for the SRES A1 and B2 scenarios (IPCC, 2000b) were used.

(2) Literature estimates of mitigation potential were used, where available. In other cases, mitigation potential was estimated by assuming that current best practice could be achieved by all plants in 2030.

(3) Literature estimates of mitigation cost were used, where available. When literature values were not available, expert judgment (informed by the available literature and data) was used to assign costs to mitigation technology.

Cost estimates are reported as 2030 mitigation potential below a given cost level. In most cases it was not possible to develop a marginal abatement cost curve that would allow estimation of mitigation potential as a function of cost. Estimates have not been made for some smaller industries (e.g., glass) and for the food industry. One or more of the critical inputs needed for these estimates were missing.

Table 7.8 should be interpreted with care. It is based on a limited number of studies – sometimes only one study per industry – and implicitly assumes that current trends will continue until 2030. Key uncertainties in the projections include: the rate of technology development and diffusion, the cost of future technology, future energy and carbon prices, the level of industrial activity in 2030, and policy driver, both climate and non-climate. The use of two scenarios, A1B and B2, is an attempt to bracket the range of these uncertainties.

Table 7.8 projects 2030 mitigation potential for the industrial sector at a cost of <100 US$/tCO2-eq (<370 US$/tC-eq) of 3.0 to 6.3 GtCO2-eq/yr (0.8 to 1.7 GtC-eq/yr) under the A1B scenario, and 2.0 to 5.1 GtCO2-eq/yr (0.6 to 1.4 GtC-eq/yr) under the B2 scenario. The largest mitigation potentials are found in the steel, cement, and pulp and paper industries and in the control of non-CO2 gases. Much of that potential is available at <50 US$/tCO2-eq (<180 US$/tC-eq). Application of CCS technology offers a large additional potential, albeit at higher cost (low agreement, little evidence).

Some data are available on industrial sector mitigation potential and cost by country or region. However, an attempt to build-up a global estimate from this data was unsuccessful. Information was lacking for the former Soviet Union, Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia.

  1. ^  Mitigation potential is the ‘economic potential’, which is defined as the amount of GHG mitigation that is cost-effective for a given carbon price, with energy savings included, when using social discount rates (3-10%).