Plan A has failed — there is no effective global deal to manage the risks of climate change. So what is Plan B? Twenty years of conferences, reports, intergovernmental meetings, public debate and most important mounting evidence of the early effects of climate change have failed to control or seriously mitigate the risks. It is time to go back to the Paris climate change agreement and think again. The reality is simple and undisputed — hydrocarbons continue to supply about 80 per cent of global energy needs each day, just as they did 10 or 20 years ago. The only difference is that the absolute amounts behind this percentage have grown. As a result the amount of carbon emitted continues to rise — CO2 emissions are more than 40 per cent higher than they were in 2000, according to figures produced by the International Energy Agency. A host of reports over the past few weeks have confirmed that judgment — including the IEA’s World Energy Outlook, the US government’s National Climate Assessment and the most recent study produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The answer to climate change will come, if it comes at all, from science, technology and engineering. That should be the subject of the discussion now — it should be scientists rather than politicians who regularly gather to formulate solutions to the challenge. Lord Rees, former president of the UK’s Royal Society, a scientific academy, has suggested four practical strategies to countering climate change in his most recent book, On the Future. They are: improved electricity storage; increased low-carbon power generation; greater efficiency of consumption; and more reduction of emissions from methane, black carbon and CFCs — all of which would contribute to mitigating global warming. The overall aim, put simply, should be to identify, create and disseminate technologies that can give everyone the chance to use low-cost, low-carbon energy as soon as possible.
FT 4th Dec 2018 read more »