As a parent, I would like to comment on the Big Picture. Just a reminder that the largest business organizations in the world have agreed that we must keep 80% of our fossil fuels in the ground. Below are some key quotes from the International Energy Agency, The World Bank, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers that are handy to use as references.
We have no choice but to stop the Energy East pipeline and the expansion of the Alberta TarSands. We have to start now with a 5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per year. If we do nothing for the next 12 years it will likely be too late – your children’s world will be in ruins. We NEED to stay below 2 degrees Celsius temp rise globally, and even that upper limit is too high to prevent the ice sheets from melting, and unimaginable catastrophic droughts, heat waves, and storms.
Both the World Bank and the United Nations IPCC have crunched the numbers and a rapid transition off fossil fuels will not cost our economy any more IF WE DO IT NOW. If we don’t do enough we will have at least a 3 degree Celsius increase by 2050, and 6 degrees Celsius increase by 2100 — global temperatures which are not compatible with human civilization as we know it now.
INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY
“The 2014 IPCC report finds the annual cost of avoiding that catastrophe is cheap, a mere 0.06% of annual growth (the range is 0.04% to 0.14%).”
“The 2014 IEA report, “Energy Technology Perspectives” (ETP 2014), explained that an aggressive effort to deploy renewable energy and energy efficiency (and energy storage) to keep global warming below the dangerous threshold of 2°C — their 2DS scenario — would require investment in clean energy of only about 1% of global GDP per year. But it would still be astoundingly cost-effective:
The $44 trillion additional investment needed to decarbonise the energy system in line with the 2DS by 2050 is more than offset by over $115 trillion in fuel savings – resulting in net savings of $71 trillion.”
REFERENCE: Romm, Joe. (2015). It’s Not Too Late To Stop Climate Change, And It’ll Be Super-Cheap. January 29. Retrieved athttp://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/01/29/3616382/solving-climate-change-cheap/
INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY (IEA)
– “Another point on climate change is about the two degrees. With the current policies in place, the world is perfectly on track to six degrees Celsius increasing the temperature, which is very bad news. And everybody, even school children, know this will have catastrophic implications for all of us.” says Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist
REFERENCE: Romm, Joe (2012). IEA: World on Pace for 11°F Warming, “Even School Children Know This Will Have Catastrophic Implications for All of Us”. Thinkprogress.org, January 4. Retrieved athttp://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/01/04/379694/iea-world-11-degree-warming-school-children-catastrophic/
INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY (IEA)
– “Delaying stronger climate action to 2020 would come at a cost: 1.5 trillion in low-carbon investments are avoided before 2020, but $5 trillion in additional investments would be required thereafter to get back on track. Delaying further action, even to the end of the current decade, would therefore result in substantial additional costs in the energy sector and increase the risk that the use of energy assets is halted before the end of their economic life.”
(page 16) “Achieving a 2 °C target in the absence of such action, while technically feasible, would entail the widespread adoption of expensive negative emissions
technologies (Box 1.1), which extract more CO2 from the atmosphere than they add to it. By the end of the century, energy-related CO2 emissions in the 450 Scenario need to decrease to around 5 Gt CO2 per year, i.e. less than one-sixth todays levels. 3
REFERENCE: International Energy Agency (2013). World Energy Outlook Special Report. June 10. Retrieved at http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/energyclimatemap/#d.en.36900
PRICE WATERHOUSE COOPERS
– The report by the prominent business consulting group PriceWaterhouseCoopers, clearly states that “business-as-usual is not an option”, and warns that the adoption of shale gas will only slow the adoption of renewables.
REFERENCE: PriceWaterhouseCoopers (2012). Low Carbon Economy Index 2012 Too late for two degrees? PriceWaterhouseCoopers, November. Retrieved at http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/sustainability/publications/low-carbon-economy-index/index.jhtml
– Jim Yong Kim, the new president of the World Bank, issued a stern warning about the forecast of a four-degree global increase in temperature. “Kim said action was needed to create a carbon market, eliminate fossil-fuel subsidies and “green” the world’s 100 megacities, which are responsible for 60 to 70% of global emissions.”
REFERENCE: Stewart, Heather and Elliot, Larry (2013). Nicholas Stern: ‘I got it wrong on climate change – it’s far, far worse’ The Observer, January 26. Retrieved at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/27/nicholas-stern-climate-change-davos
– “If we have any hope of keeping climate change below two degrees Celsius, the peak year of carbon emission has to be 2016,” said Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank. “So the challenge is right in front of us.”
REFERENCE: Huang, Cindy (2013). World Bank President: Climate Change Is Urgent ‘Today’ Problem. PBS Newshour, April 18. Retrieved athttp://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2013/04/world-bank-president-climate-change-is-urgent-today-problem.html
“A precautionary approach means only 20% of total fossil fuel reserves can be burnt to 2050. As a result the global economy already faces the prospect of assets becoming stranded, with the problem only likely to get worse if current investment trends continue – in effect, a carbon bubble.”
REFERENCE: (2013). Unburnable carbon 2013: Wasted capital and stranded assets. Carbon Tracker & The Grantham Research Institute, LSE. Retrieved at http://www.carbontracker.org/report/wasted-capital-and-stranded-assets/