'Zero' net greenhouse gas emissions
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Philip Sutton
Director, Policy and Strategy
Green Innovations Inc.
Philip.Sutton@green-innovations.asn.au

2 September 2000
Version 1.a/w:i

 

THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION'S 22nd
REPORT: Energy - The Changing Climate June 2000

ROYAL COMMISSION CALLS FOR
TRANSFORMATION IN THE UK'S USE OF ENERGY TO COUNTER CLIMATE CHANGE

As a contribution to global efforts to prevent climate change running out of control, the United Kingdom should plan for a reduction of 60% over the next 50 years in the amounts of carbon dioxide it produces by burning fossil fuels.  This is one of the key conclusions of a major report published today by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.  The report - Energy – The Changing Climate - explores what that will mean for industry and ordinary households, and how government policies need to change.

Fossil Fuels and Climate Protection - The Carbon Logic  1997 Greenpeace International Report

Preventing dangerous climate change will involve limiting both the rate and magnitude of climate change over the next century to levels that natural and human systems can tolerate without significant damage. This report shows the implications for overall fossil fuel use, in the form of a "carbon budget", over the next century if the global community is to prevent dangerous climate change. 

It is demonstrated that it is only possible to burn a small fraction of the total oil, coal and gas that has already been discovered, if such dangerous changes are to be avoided. Even the reserves of fossil fuels that are considered economic to recover now, with no advances in technology, are far greater than the total allowable "carbon budget'. 

This conclusion is shown to be robust to a wide range of assumptions about how sensitive the climate is to human interference, and the levels of change that might be considered unacceptable or dangerous. 

Comparison of the "carbon budget" with projections of possible future energy sources nevertheless suggests that such a target is both technically and economically feasible.

The "carbon budget" will be used up by 2020 at the current rate of increase in fossil fuel energy use. A phase out of the use of fossil fuels needs to begin now.



 

Author:  Philip Sutton
First posted:  19 November 2019
Feedback & Enquiries:   Philip.Sutton@green-innovations.asn.au



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