The IPCC's Jim Skea presents at the Climate Savers Buisness Event

Businesses must act now to stop rising carbon emissions

Global carbon emissions are still growing instead of falling – and businesses must take immediate action to reverse this trend.

That was world-renowned climate scientist and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Mitigation Group Vice Chair Jim Skea’s message as he opened the Gothenburg Climate Savers Business Event.

Skea warned that over the past decade global emissions growth has risen from 1.3 per cent to a staggering 2.2 per cent per year.

In other words, the world is in serious danger of missing the target to stop global temperatures rising by more than 2°C compared to pre-industrial times, preventing environmental disaster.

This is despite a much larger part of the world now being covered by some kind of climate strategy or policy, compared to the IPCC 2007 assessment report.

Skea, whose IPCC working group has created 1,200 scenarios for the future of climate change, says that the reductions needed to avoid the world warming by 2 degrees Celsius are “very ambitious.”

“We will need extraordinary efforts if we want to meet this target. And we have to start now,” he implored.

Reducing energy demand key

Skea pointed to reducing energy demand as being key to success, especially in the transport, building and industry sectors.

Another crucial factor will be a big switch in investments to decarbonize energy supply. Reducing investment in fossils fuels and investing heavily in new technologies, mainly renewable energy, is vital to stop global warming, he said.

Rising incomes mean rising emissions

Skea said the single most important cause of rising emissions was rising incomes worldwide. So far this has been balanced by higher energy efficiency, but this is changing.

“Energy has once again become more carbon intensive, mainly due to the fast growth of developing countries like China, where they use a lot of coal. But we can still do something about it,” he explained.

Download Jim Skea’s presentation here.

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