Call to speed up gas emission cuts
Published 04/12/2012 | 00:19
The pace of progress in cutting global greenhouse gas emissions is "recklessly slow", experts have warned.
On current projections global emissions will plateau at around 50 billion tonnes over the coming decades, putting the world on track for changes to the climate that would be way beyond the experience of modern civilisation.
As ministers join negotiators from around the world for United Nations climate talks in Doha, Qatar, the experts warned that countries are acting as if change was too difficult and costly, and delay did not pose problems.
The paper by Lord Stern, who published the key review into the economics of climate change in 2006, and colleagues at the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, said rigidity at the UN talks and the behaviour of negotiators was hampering progress, while vested interests remained powerful. But they said that accelerating the pace of changing to a low-carbon economy was both feasible and crucial.
They also warned that in order to keep temperature rises to no more than 2C, considered to be the point beyond which the world would experience dangerous climate change, action to cut emissions will be needed from developing countries even if rich nations cut their greenhouse gases to zero.
But there is a deep inequity in that developed countries got rich on high-carbon growth and poor countries will be the worst hit by climate change, the experts said. They urged western countries to act radically to cut their emissions and to support developing countries' move to low-carbon growth and cutting poverty.
The paper published on Monday in Doha is the latest in a series of warnings to governments from scientists, experts and business leaders about the state of the climate and the slow pace of cutting emissions.
Lord Stern, Mattia Romani and James Rydge wrote: "The overall pace of change is recklessly slow. We are acting as if change is too difficult and costly and delay is not a problem."
But they said: "Despite the slow overall pace of change, there are strong signs of activity and creativity across the world. And we have learned much over the past decade about the scale of the risks, the technologies required and the economics.
"Accelerating the pace of change towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy is both feasible and crucial; with the right incentives, rapid transformative change is possible, even in capital-intensive sectors such as energy."