A new groundbreaking report has said that rapid action is needed in order to avoid the “irreversible” consequences of climate change. It calls on policymakers to increase the cost of carbon emissions.
The report, which was prepared by academics from Aberdeen University, identifies humans as the main “drive for future climate change”. It says that carbon emissions increased by 1.5% per year between 1980 and 2000, but due to an increase in global coal consumption, emissions increased by 3% per year between 2000 and 2012.
It adds, “Rapid emissions reduction is required to restore Earth’s energy balance and avoid ocean heat uptake that would practically guarantee irreversible effects.”
The study increases the pressure on policymakers to ramp up the cost of emitting carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere, a move which would favour alternative, lower carbon sources of energy.
Greater expectation over strong policy measures for fossil fuels has led many investors to seek to divest their holdings in the sector.
A number of US states have either pulled their high-carbon investments or planned to do so in the near future. Meanwhile, Boxtel in the Netherlands became the first European town to commit to fossil fuel divestment in November.
Commenting on the Aberdeen University report, Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said, “This report adds even more urgency to the need to reduce climate emissions. Here we have a group of eminent scientists calling for rapid action to cut emissions from power stations, factories, homes and transport to avoid catastrophic and irreversible changes to our planet’s atmosphere.”
He warned that ignoring calls to move away from fossil fuels would mean disaster for future generations, adding, “The world’s nations made little progress at the climate conference in Warsaw last month and need to step up if they are to meet the challenge of setting new targets in Paris in 2015.”