Tuesday, March 16, 2010

International Execs Warn Climate Action Delay Cost $500 Billion/Yr

Mar 15: Executives of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) said they "remain optimistic that the world will meet the climate challenge" and say that the disappointments of Copenhagen should not be uses to "place blame or as an excuse to abandon the effort."
    In a release the groups said, "The future world will be resource and carbon constrained. Cleaner, more efficient technologies are required; the "green race" has begun among companies and countries to become the leading suppliers of these solutions. Our work in countries all around the world convinces us that government and business leaders understand that adopting new, more energy efficient technologies is essential for continued international competitiveness and long-term growth prospects." They said the 9 billion people in the future world, the majority urbanized,  will all be demanding food, water and housing which "requires a push for resource efficiency and a drive for reduced pollution."
    Looking forward, they outline some steps including: the first priority should be to launch a new, concerted effort to increase the efficiency of energy production and use. They said IEA's recommendations to improve energy efficiency could, if implemented globally, reduce global CO2 emissions by more than 8 billion tonnes per year by 2030. Second, clean energy growth will require large and continuing investment in renewable energy, nuclear power and carbon capture and storage (CCS). By 2050 they said, "we need to achieve a 6-fold increase in renewable energy, a 3- to 4-fold increase in nuclear power and an expansion of CCS from the five successful large-scale projects that exist today to over three thousand projects."

    Third, the groups said the transport sector must also be far along the path to decarbonization by 2050. This will entail "rapid replacement of conventional vehicles by hybrid and electric vehicles, combined with sustainable biofuels, and essential programs to expand use of mass transit and other cleaner mobility options. Achieving these goals will require rapid changes in the way we produce, use and even think about energy in modern society. We believe we can -- and must -- begin the evolution toward a more efficient, low-carbon energy system today. The longer we wait, the more inefficient and high-carbon technologies will become 'locked in' and the higher the ultimate price tag of cutting emissions."

    IEA analysis estimates that every year of delay adds US$ 500 billion to the investment needed worldwide between 2010 and 2030 in the energy sector. We cannot afford to postpone action any longer. They said that despite the urgency, "current efforts fall short. Although government investment in low-carbon technologies increased in 2008-2009 for the first time since the 1970s, it is still not enough. We need to sustain these increases and at least triple public investment in clean energy research, development and deployment. The private sector is ready to take on greater risk in new, innovative low-carbon technologies if they see a positive return on their investment. But the rules need to be clear and the operating framework more certain. . . The world is moving on from Copenhagen. Negotiations must continue, but action need not await their outcome.

    Access a lengthy release from the two organizations and link to additional information (click here).