Climate scientists call for trebling of green energy

Catastrophic climate change can only be averted if we adopt nuclear, wind and solar power in a big way, says UN

LAST UPDATED AT 10:32 ON Sun 13 Apr 2014

UN CLIMATE scientists will today call for a trebling of renewable energy in order to reduce carbon emissions and limit the expected increase in global temperatures to 2C.

The report by the United Nations climate panel, released todayin Berlin, is the third and final one to be presented before the next UN climate conference in Paris in 2015. The first report argued that global temperatures would rise by between 0.3 and 4.8C by the end of the century and sea levels would rise by 26-82cm by 2100. The second detailed the likely consequences of these changes.

Today’s report says that if we are to avert a catastrophic rise in temperatures (above 2C), we must invest 1-2 per cent of GDP to replace power plants that burn fossil fuels like coal and oil, the major cause of global warming, with renewable sources, the Observer reports.

Scientists recommend we should adopt nuclear power, wind and solar. They also reluctantly endorse gas as the least carbon-intensive fossil fuel.

The report is likely to prove controversial in the UK, with the Conservative Party recently turning against onshore wind farms, which are much cheaper than offshore wind farms. Tory Party Chairman Grant Shapps has suggested that there would be a pledge to curb onshore wind farms in their manifesto for the 2015 general election.

Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris told the Sunday Telegraph that the UK should concentrate on developing another, controversial, form of fossil fuel, shale gas: “This report is backward looking. We can be a lot greener, emit less carbon and produce cheaper energy if we switch to shale gas rather than ploughing our money into wind farms that plunge the poorest people into fuel poverty.”

However, the Conservatives could now face pressure to drop its growing opposition to wind farms. Christian Aid's senior climate change advisor, Mohamed Adow, said: "Renewable energy is backed by the public; wind power has the support of two thirds (66%) of Britons and the CBI has called on action to tackle climate change.

"The government should be doing all it can to put the UK at the forefront of this energy revolution not blowing hot and cold on the issue.” · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.