Saturday

27th May 2017

UN report calls for 'technological change' on global warming

  • "The report is clear: the more you wait, the more it will cost [and] the more difficult it will become,” said EU commissioner for climate Connie Hedegaard (Photo: RiMarkin)

International climate scientists warn the world must shift away from fossil intensive energy production amid recent proposals by the European Commission to phase out subsidies for renewables.

In a report out on Sunday (13 April), the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says global emissions of greenhouse gases have risen to unprecedented levels.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Greenhouse gas releases were higher between 2000 and 2010 than they have ever been in human history, it notes.

“Climate policies in line with the two degrees Celsius goal need to aim for substantial emission reductions,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, one of three co-chairs in the IPCC working group behind the report, in a statement.

The report recommends replacing dirty fossil fuels in coming decades with clean energy to limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

It notes fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes contributed to about 78 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions from 1970 to 2010.

Recommendations include cutting global greenhouse gas emissions from 40 to 70 percent compared with 2010 by mid-century. By the end of the century, emissions need to approach near-zero.

Possible scenarios to scale down the problem are feasible and affordable, says the IPCC.

But it means “tripling to nearly a quadrupling” the share energy supply from renewables, nuclear energy and fossil energy with carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), or bioenergy with CCS (BECCS) by the year 2050.

Natural gas could also help wean energy dependence away from coal and oil. Other solutions require large investments and continued support in renewable energy and similar technologies.

“One of the biggest areas that’s important is getting the carbon out of electricity, so renewable energy, nuclear, fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage, that's all part of the menu if we are going to make the transition to stay under the 2 degree target,” Professor Jim Skea, vice-chair of the working group, is quoted as saying in the BBC.

The IPCC text, drafted by over 200 authors, is the third instalment in a series towards a final overall UN climate report due out in October.

The first report, published last September, looked at the science behind climate change.

The second report was published in late March. It found climate change is occurring on all continents and across oceans.

The EU, for its part, has set itself a binding 40 percent emission reduction target by 2030.

Around 27 energy of the mix should come from renewable energy sources, which is binding at the EU but optional at the member state level.

Last week, EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said subsidies for renewable energy technologies and production in the EU should be phased out and replaced by a competitive bidding process.

“From 2017 onwards, operational aid to all renewable energy installations will be granted through competitive bidding processes,” he told reporters in Brussels.

His six-year plan to let the free market determine the fate of solar and wind sector includes scrapping renewable surcharges on high-polluting industries, drawing criticism from pro-green groups.

“Almunia has no clue where he should act, which is going against the fossil subsidies, going against the nuclear subsidies and he’s penalising renewables,” said Luxembourg Green MEP Claude Turmes.

Green groups unhappy with EU climate proposals

The European Commission’s latest climate proposals fall short of the mark, say pro-green groups, following a UN report, which warned of irreversible consequences of a warming planet.

Parents of EU children win right to stay

Countries cannot automatically refuse residence to parents of EU children simply because the other parent could care for the minor, the EU's top court ruled on Wednesday.

News in Brief

  1. Malloch will not be US ambassador to the EU
  2. 'Significant' drop in EU migration to UK
  3. Bomb injures former Greek PM
  4. British PM to speak out on US terrorism leaks
  5. Tusk calls for 'values, not just interests' after Trump meeting
  6. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  7. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  8. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms