Maria van der Hoeven on climate change risks

2012-04-25

in Economics, Politics, Science, The environment

Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), has issued a stark warning about the world’s inaction on climate change and the consequences that may have. The Guardian quotes her as saying that the world is “on track for warming of 6°C by the end of the century” and that this level of warming “would create catastrophe, wiping out agriculture in many areas and rendering swathes of the globe uninhabitable, as well as raising sea levels and causing mass migration, according to scientists”.

It’s a shocking thing to read from the director of a relatively conservative organization. It certainly suggests that the policy-makers of the world have their priorities badly misaligned with the welfare of their own citizens and of humanity as a whole.

For years now, the IEA has been calling for global carbon pricing.

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. April 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Governments failing to avert catastrophic climate change, IEA warns

Ministers attending clean energy summit in London to be gravely warned about continuing global addiction to fossil fuels

Governments are falling badly behind on low-carbon energy, putting carbon reduction targets out of reach and pushing the world to the brink of catastrophic climate change, the world’s leading independent energy authority will warn on Wednesday.

The stark judgment is being given at a key meeting of energy ministers from the world’s biggest economies and emitters taking place in London on Wednesday – a meeting already overshadowed by David Cameron’s last-minute withdrawal from a keynote speech planned for Thursday.

“The world’s energy system is being pushed to breaking point,” Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency, writes in today’s Guardian. “Our addiction to fossil fuels grows stronger each year. Many clean energy technologies are available but they are not being deployed quickly enough to avert potentially disastrous consequences.”

On current form, she warns, the world is on track for warming of 6C by the end of the century – a level that would create catastrophe, wiping out agriculture in many areas and rendering swathes of the globe uninhabitable, as well as raising sea levels and causing mass migration, according to scientists.

Van der Hoeven, whose deputy will present the IEA’s findings to the Third Clean Energy Ministerial, put the blame squarely on policymakers, and challenged ministers to step up.

She said: “The current state of affairs is unacceptable precisely because we have a responsibility and a golden opportunity to act. Energy-related CO2 emissions are at historic highs, and under current policies, we estimate that energy use and CO2 emissions would increase by a third by 2020, and almost double by 2050. This would be likely to send global temperatures at least 6C higher within this century.”

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