Shift to Low-Carbon Energy or Face Consequences: UN Report

Smoking funnel: Photo Wikimedia CCL

A United Nations report says that governments must act faster to keep global warming in check and delays until 2030 could force them to use little-tested technologies to extract greenhouse gases from the air. The study, drawing on work by more than 1,000 experts, said a radical shift from fossil fuels to low-carbon energy such as wind, solar or nuclear power would shave only about 0.06 of a percentage point a year off world economic growth. "It does not cost the world to save the planet," Ottmar Edenhofer, a German scientist who is co-chair of a meeting of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told a news conference in Berlin. The report, endorsed by governments, is meant as the main scientific guide for nations working on a U.N. deal to be agreed in late 2015 to rein in greenhouse gas emissions that have hit repeated highs this century, led by China's industrial growth. "We don't have the luxury of time," Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, told Reuters, saying costs would rise sharply if strong action was delayed to 2030. "We will have to move quickly and with an unprecedented level of international cooperation." Governments have promised to limit temperature rises to a maximum 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times to avert ever more heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels that the IPCC says are linked to man-made warming. Such levels were still attainable, it said, but policies i....

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