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Apr

Taking Climate Change Seriously

Written on April 1, 2014 by Waya Quiviger in Energy & Environment, Op Ed

The publication today of the latest IPCC report on the projected impacts of a warming world is the latest in a long line of wake-up calls. Last November’s report on the physical science of climate change made clear that we are currently following the scenario with the highest risk – and we need to make a break with business as usual if we are to avoid the worst impacts. So what would it look like if we took climate change seriously and acted to keep global warming below 2C?

Professor Kevin Anderson, deputy director of the Tyndall Centre – the UK’s leading climate policy research unit involving the collaboration of eight different universities – says that if we followed the science through and honoured the commitments we’ve made internationally, the EU would need to double its projected emissions cuts by 2030 – from 40 per cent to 80 per cent. This would mean revising the targets in the UK’s Climate Change Act and starting to make at least 10 per cent annual cuts in our greenhouse gas emissions immediately.

“The window for action is extremely tight. We need to radically reduce our energy consumption from now out to 2025 and at the same time very rapidly roll out a Marshall Plan for a low carbon energy supply. Those two things have to go hand in hand.” Instead of tinkering around with policies that make small changes, we would need bold action in key areas such as buildings and transport, requiring courage on the part of politicians and changes to how we live our lives.

“We’re on the cusp of having to take note of what is evidently happening around us but we’re still very reluctant to leave a political mindset that says we can deliver the changes using a bit of a carbon price, a few adverts trying to incentivise people to do things, and some carbon labelling. We still expect those types of piecemeal, ad-hoc mechanisms to deliver the sort of changes that are necessary and yet we know now in 2014 that they simply won’t work.”

So what do we need to do to make such radical cuts? Last December the Tyndall Centre organised a conference at the Royal Society looking at precisely this question and researchers at the Centre for Alternative Technology have been refining a plan for a “Zero Carbon Britain” by 2030 for some years. It takes time to put low carbon energy infrastructure in place. If we need to start making substantial cuts straightaway we have to cut energy consumption. Two of our biggest sources of emissions are the energy we use at home and the transport we use. Read more…

By Phil England; Published on 31 March in the Independent http://www.independent.co.uk

 

Comments

International Relations Blog April 1, 2014 - 11:12 am

Westermeier…

The publication today of the latest IPCC report on the projected impacts of a warming world is the latest in a long line of wake-up calls. Last November’s…

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