Time running out for dealing with global greenhouse emissions: report

The latest report on the world’s environmental crisis, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), does not mince words about the urgency of the problem.. Even though the world has acknowledged the problem of greenhouse gas emissions, and adopted a growing number of GHG emissions mitigation policies, the amount of emissions is still increasing. Most of the emissions (78 per cent) come from fossil fuel combustion. Economic and population growth are the most important drivers of increases in CO2 emissions. Climate change mitigation is needed to ensure sustainable development, but it can’t be done if “individual agents” put their own interests ahead of those of the global community.

transportation-industry-biofuel-greenhouse-emissions-global-warming-climate-chagne-EDIWeekly
The transport sector accounted for 27 per cent of final energy use and direct emissions in 2010, the IPCC report states. Emissions from this sector are expected to double by 2050, a growth in CO2 emissions that could cancel any mitigation measures made in other areas.

The warning, which US Secretary of State John Kerry called a “wake-up call about global economic opportunity,” is that collectively we are failing. “Without additional efforts to reduce GHG emissions beyond those in place today,” the report states, “emissions growth is expected to persist driven by growth in global population and economic activities.”

The opportunity Kerry sees lies in exploiting the many different “mitigation pathways,” which include technological solutions, that the IPCC identifies as necessary to limit global temperature increase to 2°C. As Kerry points out, many of the technologies are cheaper and more readily available now than they were when the IPCC issued its last assessment of the state of global warming.

Attempting to emphasize the economic opportunities the crisis presents, Kerry said that “focusing only on grim realities misses promising realities staring us right in the face.”

Some of the mitigation scenarios involve now-familiar concepts. Replacing coal-fired power plants with natural gas-powered plants, or nuclear power is one. Implementing carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) technologies is another, though the report notes that to date CCS has not been applied to a commercially scaled power plant. Relying more on bioenergy with CCS is another—growing plants to take carbon dioxide from the air, then using those plants to fire electricity generation, while capturing the CO2 and removing it permanently from the environment.

In fact, the world already derives 30 per cent of its electricity from low-carbon sources, mainly hydro and nuclear power. That low-carbon generation must rise to 80 per cent, by 2050. Solar and wind power will play a leading role in the increase. Annual investment in fossil fuel-powered electrical power plants will have to decline by 20 per cent over the next twenty years.

 

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • Labour groups welcome interim report on precarious workers in Ontario
  • Keystone XL clears another hurdle but fight not over
  • Scientists Use Machine Learning to Automate Atomic-Scale Manufacturing
  • Airbus Tests Self-Flying Taxi
  • Cement industry opposes wood construction in taller buildings
  • Steel industry welcomes anti-dumping investigation by federal government
  • Ontario to update Nuclear Emergency Response Plan in the event of nuclear and radiological events
  • Why a Russian submarine may have tried to tap into undersea communications: 95 percent of communications and $10 Trillion in data are carried on undersea cables
  • Researchers studied successful manufacturers for lessons for the future
  • Could the Future of Energy be Entirely Renewable?
  • Is Clean Diesel a myth, or a yet-to-come promise?
  • Fully solar powered vehicle: an RV that runs without fuel or charging stations?
  • Green building booming but Canadian companies lag in R&D
  • Detroit-Windsor bridge approval cheered in Canada, US
  • Utility offers customers Tesla Powerwalls as home energy storage market heats up
  • Montreal firm to build flight simulators for US Navy
  • Tesla Roadster not only zero-to-sixty in 1.9 seconds — the next iteration may actually fly, says Elon Musk, CEO
  • Driverless transport systems "TecLines" will allow Mercedes factory to customize assembly
  • Construction industry will boom in Northern Ontario, GTA: report
  • Canada's oil and gas industry gathering in Toronto for two-day forum
Scroll to Top