Written By: Emma Websdale
UN experts call for a quicker switch to a low-carbon economy to fight increasing greenhouse gases that are causing global warming, warn leaked IPCC findings.
The leaked UN report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that delaying action on global warming will only increase the costs and present fewer options when dealing with impacts of climate change.
Written and drafted by United Nations experts, the report says that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased by 2.2% each year on average between 2000 and 2010 (almost twice as much as the rate in 1970-2000). If these levels continue, they warned that extremely expensive technologies will be needed to tackle the effects of a warming world.
The largest contributor to global greenhouse emissions was the burning of oil and coal –a contributor that is expected to grow, the report said. With increased demands for coal-produced energy, UN experts say that emissions from this energy sector are projected to be three times as high in 2050 as in 2010. Unless countries shift quickly to a clean-energy economy and aggressively cut emissions, global warming will continue, the report said.
Currently, total global annual investment in the energy industry is approximately US$1.2 trillion. Experts behind the IPCC report have estimated that in order to stabilize CO2 concentrations at a safe level (between 430 and 530 parts per million), investments in fossil fuels would have to drop by $30 billion a year between 2010 and 2029. Furthermore, investments in renewable energy sources would have to increase by $147 billion a year.
Also addressing the concern this week, United Nations climate chief Christina Figueres has urged global financial institutions to increase their investments in clean energy to $1 trillion per year. If this target is reached–almost tripling the current clean-energy investment, Figueres says that global warming can be restricted to 2oC, helping to avoid climate-driven disasters.