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What Next -- Climate Watch

Guardian article: World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns

Here is a must-read article from the Guardian, referencing Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, who concludes that the world is getting locked into a scenario where, within five years, it will be impossible to avoid dangerous climate change. There needs to be a dramatic transformation of our energy systems, and it needs to begin immediately, so that further "locking-in" of destructive fossil fuels are avoided.

The analysis thus speaks in favor of the idea for a global investment programme -- a "Marshall plan" -- for a Global system of national Feed-in Tariffs financed by a global climate fund that an increasing number of organizations are calling for.

Link to full article here.


guardian_-iea_irreversible-cc_9nov-2011

Here are a few quotes from the article:

"The world is likely to build so many fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be "lost for ever", according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure."

"Anything built from now on that produces carbon will do so for decades, and this "lock-in" effect will be the single factor most likely to produce irreversible climate change, the world's foremost authority on energy economics has found. If this is not rapidly changed within the next five years, the results are likely to be disastrous."

"If current trends continue, and we go on building high-carbon energy generation, then by 2015 at least 90% of the available "carbon budget" will be swallowed up by our energy and industrial infrastructure. By 2017, there will be no room for manoeuvre at all – the whole of the carbon budget will be spoken for, according to the IEA's calculations."

"The Guardian revealed in May an IEA analysis that found emissions had risen by a record amount in 2010, despite the worst recession for 80 years."

"he central problem is that most industrial infrastructure currently in existence – the fossil-fuelled power stations, the emissions-spewing factories, the inefficient transport and buildings – is already contributing to the high level of emissions, and will do so for decades. Carbon dioxide, once released,stays in the atmosphere and continues to have a warming effect for about a century, and industrial infrastructure is built to have a useful life of several decades."

"Yet, despite intensifying warnings from scientists over the past two decades, the new infrastructure even now being built is constructed along the same lines as the old, which means that there is a "lock-in" effect – high-carbon infrastructure built today or in the next five years will contribute as much to the stock of emissions in the atmosphere as previous generations."

"Subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption of fossil fuels jumped to over $400bn (£250.7bn)."

"Meanwhile, an "unacceptably high" number of people – about 1.3bn – still lack access to electricity. If people are to be lifted out of poverty, this must be solved – but providing people with renewable forms of energy generation is still expensive."

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