Immense energy emissions challenge “not understood”

Carnegie Insititution of Washington's Steven Davis

Carnegie Insititution of Washington’s Steven Davis

Sometimes, climate change seems unstoppable – so much so, it’s tempting to ask: ‘Why bother doing anything about it then?’ Steven Davis of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and his colleagues have provided one answer. They have found that while the power generation facilities and transportation we currently use guarantee some CO2 emissions, those emissions will not themselves reach levels that could cause dangerous climate change.

“The result is hopeful in that what we’ve already built won’t put us over the 2ºC benchmark,” Davis said. A 2°C temperature rise from pre-industrial averages is a stated aim of the Copenhagen Accord, agreed by the world’s countries in December last year. However, Davis warns that taking the right steps to stop emitters yet to be built taking global temperature rises through this limit is a difficult, in fact almost impossible, challenge. “The necessary transition in our energy system is incredibly daunting,” he explains. “The immensity of the challenge is not commonly understood, the political will is lacking, and there are few alternative energy technologies that can attain the required scale.” Read the rest of this entry »