The world must slash greenhouse-gas emissions in ten years or face “significant risks of appalling global harm,” says the UK-based Institute of Public Policy Research. The report says the landmark Stern report, which warned of an economic collapse equal to the 1930s depression unless emissions were curbed, is “too conservative” and governments need to move further and faster, with carbon emissions reaching their peak by 2010 to 2013.
From there, the think-tank said the world needs to cut emissions by four per cent to five per cent annually, and by mid-Century Co2 levels should be 70 per cent to 80 per cent below what they were in 1990. In a forward to the report, Simon Retallack, head of IPPR’s climate-change team, said “We do not have decades in which to bend the Co2 curve; we have less than 10 years. “The gap between what is necessary and what seems feasible clearly looms large,” Retallack said. “But if we want to avoid significant risks of appalling global harm we will need to re-examine what is feasible.” If the average global temperature rises by more than 2C, the report said, more than two billion people will be affected by drought and some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems, including coral reefs and the Amazon rainforest, will be severely damaged.
Sir David King, chief scientific adviser to the UK government, told the Guardian newspaper before publication of the Stern report that it was unlikely the world would be able to stay below the 2C threshold, but that it might be “politically realistic” to stabilize at 2.2C to 3.5C Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has received a petition signed by 150,000 people and delivered by six children calling for a climate-change bill in next week’s Queen’s speech to cut UK Co2 emissions by at least three per cent annually.