The Zero-Emissions Imperative

This week, the European Commission announced new energy and climate targets for 2030. But what is really needed is a target of zero net emissions from fossil fuels by the second half of this century.

DAVOS – Our planet is warming dangerously. And, as the 2013 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes clear, our carbon-dioxide emissions over the past half-century are extremely likely to be to blame. A more robust approach to global warming is needed if we are to avoid catastrophe. Unlike the recent financial crisis, there is no bailout option for the earth’s climate.

Three years ago, at the United Nations COP 16 climate-change meeting in Cancún, countries agreed to reduce their emissions by 2020 to a point that would prevent the average global temperature from rising more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. However, UN estimates show that current trends would bring the world only 25-50% of the way to this target.

This is why I am calling on all governments to be more ambitious – to aim for zero net emissions from fossil fuels by the second half of this century. Nothing short of a wholesale transformation of the energy economy will suffice.

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