Saturday, March 10, 2018

Dirty Industry Undermines Push to Curb Global Warming - Ex-UN Climate Chief

 Former United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres speaks during a debate in the United Nations General Assembly between candidates vying to be the next U.N. Secretary General at U.N. headquarters in Manhattan, New York, U.S., July 12, 2016. (Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar) Click to Enlarge.
Industry's dependence on polluting fossil fuels is at odds with a "revolution" in transport and renewable energy, and could stop the world doing a crucial U-turn on rising emissions of climate-changing gases by 2020, a former U.N. climate chief warned.

Christiana Figueres, who oversaw work on the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle global warming, now leads "Mission 2020", an international initiative that seeks to put greenhouse gas emissions on a downward path by 2020.

"We're definitely not on track with everything to do with heavy industry that continues to depend on intense, high-carbon electricity, and we're not on track with land use," said Figueres, former executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"So what happens if we don't get there is we increase our risk and increase the exposure to extreme weather events," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

The transport and energy sectors are expected to meet the 2020 deadline as a result of more efficient, cleaner transportation and a plunge in the cost of generating renewable power, Figueres said.

Putting a price on carbon and working out ways to pay for environmental services could also yield benefits, alongside incentives to improve land use by restoring degraded soils or boosting reforestation, she said.

The Paris Agreement set a goal of keeping the rise in average global temperatures to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, and ideally to 1.5 degrees.

"Science has warned us that if we do not get to that point and begin to bend (the emissions curve), we will have accelerated, negative impacts of climate change," Figueres said.

Read more at Interview-Dirty Industry Undermines Push to Curb Global Warming - Ex-UN Climate Chief

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