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Power sector roadmap overlooks climate science

Power sector roadmap overlooks climate science

Electricity industry claims that emissions cuts can wait until 2025 are not in line with climate science, according to Nick Mabey, Chief Executive of E3G.

A report released today by a coalition of power sector industry bodies criticises the 2020 targets under negotiation at Copenhagen and argues that “there will be limited emissions reductions before 2020, with the major reductions occurring in the 2025–2040 period”.

Nick Mabey commented:

“The science of climate change is clear: global carbon emissions need to peak by 2015 and carbon reductions are needed by 2020. Power sector emissions can be reduced substantially by 2020 through proactive energy efficiency measures and deployment of renewables and other low carbon technologies. Waiting for 15 to 30 years for emissions reductions could be disastrous.”

He criticised the electricity industry report on three accounts:

  • The report accepts the IPCC recommendation of 60-80% CO2 reductions in developed countries by 2050, but ignores the IPCC recommendation of a peak in global emissions by 2015. The industry report suggests significant reductions would not occur for 15-30 years. This is at odds with the science: the final number in 2050 is less important than the ‘area under the curve’, or the total emissions between now and then.
  • The report acknowledges that around half of carbon savings by 2050 will come through energy efficiency improvements, but does not consider the potential for using energy efficiency measures to achieving greater near-term emissions reductions.
  • The potential for renewables to be used for emissions reductions in the near term are assessed pessimistically, while clean coal technologies and nuclear are assessed optimistically.


Editor’s Notes:

1. E3G is an independent, non-profit European organisation operating in the public interest to accelerate the global transition to sustainable development..

2. For further information please contact E3G.