Renew On Line (UK) 66

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 166 March-April 2007
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         
 

Contents

1. Energy Policy: White paper delay, EAC blown away

2.Wind power : Micro-wind doubts, Offshore wind boom

3. Carbon Policy: Zero Carbon Houses, Carbon rationing

4. NCC: Green power reality check

5. Regional policy: Wales and Scotland

6. FoE say no to Severn Barrage: it could crowd out alternatives

7. News Roundup: Biofuels, Planning, Solar Fine, Clean Coal plant

8. Global Climate Worsens: IPCCC 4th report

9. European Roundup: EC on Energy Efficiency

10. USA: Bush unmoved on Climate

11. Around the world: Australia, China, Asia-Pacific Climate Pact

12. Nuclear News: UK, US, Germany and Bulgaria

Global Climate Worsens

Climate problems and solutions

The results of the fourth review by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the first part of which emerged in Feb, were as gloomy as predicted- the science now looked much firmer and the prognosis was grim. The conclusions in the first report on the ' science' were that climate change will be worse (maybe even up to a 6.4 degree C rise), and will probably happen faster, than was previously thought. The main criticism of the report was that it underplayed the likely scale of change. An ' Impacts' report is next, and then one on mitigation. See: www.ipcc.ch/

The global problems likely to result had already been highlighted in the Stern report and were summarised by Margaret Beckett in speech in Berlin: ' studies suggest that temperature rises of just 2-3 degrees will see crop yields in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia fall by as much as 30 to 40%' , and ' one billion people in the South Asian sub-continent are likely to be suffering from a reduction in Himalayan melt-water and changes to the monsoon' , while ' a sea-level rise of just 50cm- half the most optimistic estimates- will displace two million people from the Nile Delta. A one metre rise will displace 25 million in Bangladesh. Environmental degradation is already driving economic migration out of sub-Saharan Africa and onto Europe' s shores.' The IPCC report simply adds more urgency to the need for a political response.

Beckett noted that ' We all have an interest in continuing economic growth. We all want to see the developing world lift itself out of poverty. But at the moment that growth and development is being driven by the burning of the fossil fuels which cause climate change. In other words, the very process which is making people' s lives better across the world today is destroying their future. But the choice between economic growth and a stable climate is a false one. We have to have both. And we can have both... moving to a low-carbon global economy does not mean sacrificing economic growth or condemning people to poverty.'

What can be done?

Mrs Beckett noted that ' the International Energy Agency estimates that $20 trillion will be spent in the energy sector between now and 2030. We must use that money to transform the very foundations of how we live: how we generate and consume power, how we move around, and how we use land. Most of the $20 trillion will be from the private sector. But a stable climate is a global public good: and that makes it a responsibility of governments to put in place the conditions that will achieve it. Our task is nothing less than to build the biggest public-private partnership ever imagined. We must construct the mutually reinforcing frameworks of incentives and penalties, of opportunities and burdens equitably shared, that will drive private capital towards low carbon solutions. And these frameworks will need to be built simultaneously at every level-national, regional and global. That needs the widest possible political coalition. At every level- UN, G8 or EU- one of our top-line objectives must be to make real, concrete progress on climate change' .

She argued that in terms of the EU, ' We are the world' s biggest single market. We have a budget- more than 120 bn Euros a year- that gives us the ability to drive progress in the areas that will define the global response to climate change: R&D, advanced technologies, renewable energy, energy efficiency. In short, we have the intellectual capacity, the technological capability and the resources not just to steer the global debate on climate change but also to drive global action. That is what the European Union is for. That is what makes it relevant to its people. Europe has already achieved so much on the environment: far more than any of our countries could ever have done on its own. Now we must make climate security one of Europe' s greatest priorities.'

Sadly though, the global COP12 Climate conference in Kenya in Nov. didn' t make much progress- see Groups. But Tony Blair seems hopeful about an agreement at the G8 summit in June.

* The UN World Meteorological Organisation says CO2 levels rose by 0.5% in 2005, to 35.5% above pre-industrial levels.

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