• Monday, May 27, 2024
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BusinessDay

Breaking the climate deadlock (II)

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TONY BLAIR

For example, the overwhelming majority of new power stations in China and India  necessary to drive the industrialization that will lift hundreds of millions out of poverty will be coal-fired. That is just a fact. So developing CCS or an alternative that allows coal to become clean energy is essential for meeting the 2050 goal. But we need to invest now, seriously and through global collaboration, so that by 2020 we are in a position to scale up CCS or be ready to deploy other alternatives.

Renaissance of nuclear power will require a big expansion of qualified scientists and engineers. Electric vehicles will need large adjustments to infrastructure. Smart grid systems can enable big savings in emissions, but require a plan for putting them into effect. These measures will take time, but require investment now. Meanwhile, in the short term, low energy lighting and efficient industrial motors may sound obvious, but we are nowhere near using them as extensively as we could.
So we know what we need to do, and we have tools available to achieve our goals. MEF leaders can therefore have confidence in adopting the interim and long-term targets recommended by the scientific community: keeping warming to below two degrees Celsius; peaking emissions within the next decade; and at least halving global emissions by 2050 versus 1990.

Read Also: Climate change: Uzodinma, Bagudu, others seek legislation, concerted action

Developed countries will be able to commit to reducing their emissions by 80% versus 1990 by mid-century, as many have already done, and provide the necessary financial and technology support for developing countries’ adaptation and mitigation efforts. With that support, developing countries in turn will need to design and implement Low-Carbon Growth Plans that significantly slow and eventually peak their emissions growth. By making these commitments, the MEF leaders, whose countries account for more than three-quarters of global emissions, would lay a firm foundation for success in Copenhagen.
Between L’Aquila and Copenhagen, there will undoubtedly be difficult discussions over interim targets for developed countries. While such targets are important, what matters most is agreement on the measures that ultimately will set the world on a new path to a low carbon future.

For years, the emphasis has rightly been on persuading people that there must be sufficient will to tackle climate change. But leaders, struggling to cope with this challenge even amidst economic crisis, need to know that there is also a way. Only by combining the two will we succeed. Fortunately, such a way immensely challenging but nonetheless feasible exists.