The negative effects of fossil fuels on the Planet are undeniable, and their unrestricted use should end before the world experiences a severe climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) outlines an approach on fossil fuels use that should see the world’s electricity produced from low carbon sources in 2050. If this plan works, the use of fossil fuels, without carbon capture and storage (CCS) should become obsolete “almost entirely” by 2010.
Their short synthesis report, which was published on Sunday in Copenhagen, was made public after intense discussions between government officials and scientists. According to it, the Planet is faced with “severe, pervasive and irreversible” impacts without effective action on carbon.
“It’s very clear from the report that fossil fuels have had their day.” – Prof. Arthur Petersen, UCL
“Of course it’s up to politicians to decide which risks they want to take with climate change, so it is not policy prescriptive in saying that these reductions should take place, but it is absolutely clear that the reductions should take place if you want to limit (temperature increases) to 2C.”
If this strategy will work, electricity should be ensured by moving away from coal, and opting for renewables and other low carbon forms (nuclear power included). For this to be effective, renewable resource production should grow from its current 30% share to 80% by 2050.
On the long run, the report suggests that “Fossil fuel power generation without CCS is phased out almost entirely by 2010.”
This is not the first report issued by the IPCC. As a matter of fact, three previous ones were issued in the last 13 months which outlined the causes, impacts and potential solutions to climate change. The three issues are boiled into one, with the intention of informing and engaging politicians in attempts to alleviate global climate change. If politicians react to this, the IPCC hopes that a global treaty on climate will be adopted by the end of 2015.
Politicians already responded to this. They agree that a rise of 2C is the threshold. The IPCC has already outlined several solutions to keep the level steady until the end of the century. However, countries will have to adapt quickly.
“We can’t afford to burn all the fossil fuels we have without dealing with the waste product which is CO2 and without dumping it in the atmosphere.” – Prof Myles Allen, Oxford University.
“If we can’t develop carbon capture we will have to stop using fossil fuels if we want to stop dangerous climate change, that is a very clear message that comes out of the IPCC reports.”