Connie Hedegaard: "There really is no plan B for climate change. There is only plan A: collective action to reduce emissions now."
The latest report by the United Nations scientific panel on climate change shows that collective and significant global action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to keep global warming below 2°C. The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that the longer we wait, the more expensive and technologically challenging meeting this goal will be.
Connie Hedegaard said: ''The report is clear: there really is no plan B for climate change. There is only plan A: collective action to reduce emissions now. And since we need first movers to set a plan into motion, we in Europe will adopt an ambitious 2030 target later this year. Now the question is: when will YOU, the big emitters, do the same? The more you wait, the more it will cost. The more you wait, the more difficult it will be.''
The IPCC report, published yesterday, points out that despite a growing number of policies aimed at limiting climate change, man-made greenhouse gas emissions grew more rapidly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the previous three previous decades.
In 2010, total greenhouse gas emissions were around 49 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent – around 7 tonnes for every person on the planet. Globally, economic growth and population growth continue to be the most important drivers of increases in CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels.
However, the deep cuts in emissions that are needed to limit warming to 2°C compared to the pre-industrial temperature are possible, the IPCC finds. These cuts will mean economic change as well as challenging technological, institutional and behavioural changes.
Efforts to cut emissions will be required in all sectors of the economy, and full decarbonisation of the energy supply is needed in the long-term, the report says.