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TurboJourno
Posted by Turborama in General Discussion
Wed Nov 09th 2011, 09:13 AM
Source: The Guardian

If fossil fuel infrastructure is not rapidly changed, the world will 'lose for ever' the chance to avoid dangerous climate change

Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent | Wednesday November 9 2011 10.01 GMT

The world is likely to build so many new fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be "lost for ever", according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.

Anything built from now on that produces carbon will continue to do so for decades to come, and this "lock-in" effect will be the single factor most likely to produce irreversible climate change, the world's foremost authority on energy economics has found. If this infrastructure is not rapidly changed within the next five years, the results are likely to be disastrous.

"The door is closing," Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA), told the Guardian. "I am very worried if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum (for safety). The door will be closed forever."

Every month now counts: if the world is to stay below 2C of warming, which scientists regard as the limit of safety, then emissions must be held to no more than 450 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; the level is currently around 390ppm. But the world's existing infrastructure is already producing 80% of that "carbon budget", according to a new analysis by the IEA, published on Wednesday. This gives an ever-narrowing gap in which to reform the global economy on to a low-carbon footing.

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011...



Fascinating/scary/frustrating article that's well worth reading in full.

ETA this related article from The Guardian...

The burning issue of energy cannot wait for economic good times

The house is ablaze and we are throwing bucket after bucket at it - buckets of petrol. Worse, if that is possible, the world's politicians are not stepping in to stop us stoking the flames: instead they are helping us pay for the petrol.

That simple, devastating analogy captures entirely the current global action on climate change. Despite warnings from scientists that have been clear for years, the globe is not curbing its carbon emissions: they are rising by record amounts. We are not even getting more efficient in our use of fossil fuels to power our economies, we are now getting worse. And the rising subsidies poured into fossil fuels swamp those for clean energy by six to one.

The previous charge made against the world's leaders - you are not moving forward fast enough - failed to spark action. Will the new message - you are now reversing at speed towards a hellish future - change that? The UN negotiations on a global climate change agreement, reconvening in Durban shortly, will be the first test of whether this new reality has sunk in.

But, with tackling global warming tumbling down the agenda with politicians transfixed by economic crisis, the omens are gloomy. The new warning this Wednesday from the International Energy Agency, a deeply conservative organisation, could not be more stark. Unless we shift the global energy supertanker off its current, dirty course by 2017, we will have locked in enough greenhouse gas pollution to condemn the world to a temperature rise above the 2C deemed "safe" by governments. Yet the best aspirations for Durban look utterly inadequate. UK's climate change minister Greg Barker recently said having a global climate deal ready to "click in" by 2020 was realistic.

Full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/dami...
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