Efficient and Clean Energy Needed to Fight Climate Change

THE Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revealed a report yesterday revealing a rise in global greenhouse gases emissions to unprecedented levels despite more policies aimed at reducing climate change.

The report, entitled Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, shows that emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades, but the reports authors reckon the trend can be altered, and must be altered to offset a disaster.

According to the Working Group III contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, it would be possible, using a wide array of technological measures and changes in behaviour, to limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. However, only major institutional and technological change will give a better than even chance that global warming will not exceed this threshold.

The report, entitled Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, is the third of three Working Group reports, which, along with a Synthesis Report due in October 2014, constitute the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report on climate change. Working Group III is led by three Co-Chairs: Ottmar Edenhofer from Germany, Ramón Pichs-Madruga from Cuba, and Youba Sokona from Mali.

“Climate policies in line with the two degrees Celsius goal need to aim for substantial emission reductions,” co-chair Ottmar Edenhofer said. “There is a clear message from science: To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual.”

Scenarios show that to have a likely chance of limiting the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius, means lowering global greenhouse gas emissions by 40% to 70% compared with 2010 by mid-century, and to near-zero by the end of this century. Ambitious mitigation may even require removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Scientific literature confirms that even less ambitious temperature goals would still require similar emissions reductions.

For the report, about 1200 scenarios from scientific literature have been analyzed. These scenarios were generated by 31 modelling teams around the world to explore the economic, technological and institutional prerequisites and implications of mitigation pathways with different degrees of ambition.

“Many different pathways lead to a future within the boundaries set by the two degrees Celsius goal,” Edenhofer said. “All of these require substantial investments. Avoiding further delays in mitigation and making use of a broad variety of technologies can limit the associated costs.”

Estimates of the economic costs of mitigation vary widely. In business-as-usual scenarios, consumption grows by 1.6% to 3% per year. Ambitious mitigation would reduce this growth by around 0.06 percentage points a year. However, the underlying estimates do not take into account economic benefits of reduced climate change.

Energy efficiency and clean, sustainable, energy improvements are a major contributor to the battle against climate change.

Picture of Tacloban after Typhoon Haiyan by Trocaire from Ireland (DSC_0974) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday 14th April 2014


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