Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Governments failing to avert catastrophic climate change, IEA warns
Fiona Harvey in the Guardian (UK): Governments are falling badly behind on low-carbon energy, putting carbon reduction targets out of reach and pushing the world to the brink of catastrophic climate change, the world's leading independent energy authority will warn on Wednesday.
The stark judgment is being given at a key meeting of energy ministers from the world's biggest economies and emitters taking place in London on Wednesday – a meeting already overshadowed by David Cameron's last-minute withdrawal from a keynote speech planned for Thursday.
"The world's energy system is being pushed to breaking point," Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency, writes in today's Guardian. "Our addiction to fossil fuels grows stronger each year. Many clean energy technologies are available but they are not being deployed quickly enough to avert potentially disastrous consequences."
On current form, she warns, the world is on track for warming of 6C by the end of the century – a level that would create catastrophe, wiping out agriculture in many areas and rendering swathes of the globe uninhabitable, as well as raising sea levels and causing mass migration, according to scientists.
Van der Hoeven, whose deputy will present the IEA's findings to the Third Clean Energy Ministerial, put the blame squarely on policymakers, and challenged ministers to step up. She said: "The current state of affairs is unacceptable precisely because we have a responsibility and a golden opportunity to act. Energy-related CO2 emissions are at historic highs, and under current policies, we estimate that energy use and CO2 emissions would increase by a third by 2020, and almost double by 2050. This would be likely to send global temperatures at least 6C higher within this century."...