I would turn the lights out
1st February, 2007
That’s what I would do if I were energy minister, says the former environment minister
The issue is very stark, but also very clear. The industrialised countries (specifically the 35 Annex I countries of the Kyoto Protocol) are currently well off track to meet their Kyoto commitments. Spain, Portugal, Greece and Canada are way over target, the US and Australia have reneged and their emissions are soaring massively over Kyoto limits, and China, India and Brazil have not yet signed up to targets and their emissions are rising very fast, driven by frenetic growth. Given this record, the chances of the world cutting its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 (which scientists earlier said was necessary) – when, on present performance, global emissions will probably increase by 75 per cent by that date – must be next to nil.
Moreover, even this seemingly unreachable 60 per cent cut by 2050 is still nowhere near enough. The latest science indicates that a cut of no less than 90 per cent is necessary by the much earlier date of 2030 if we are to keep carbon concentrations in the atmosphere below 430 parts per million. The significance of this threshold is that above this level we may not be able to prevent some of the potentially catastrophic feedback processes...
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