Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Curbing Fossil Fuels is Essential to Climate Change Mitigation

If we are serious about combating climate change we must reduce our use of fossil fuels. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the primary cause of climate change and fossil fuels are the leading source of GHGs. Despite what the oil companies would have us believe, the logic of ending our reliance on fossil fuels is irrefutable.

Yet another report convincingly makes the point that it is insane for us to continue our reliance on fossil fuels as our primary source of energy. As explained by the scientists in the Australian report titled "The Critical Decade" we are running out of time to transition to cleaner sources of power.

One such scientist is Professor Steffen who contributed to the report, he argues that, by the end of this decade, global emissions need to be coming down. “We have to get global emissions trending downward by the end of the decade to have any reasonable chance of meeting that two degree target. We need to make the right investment decisions,” he said.

We cannot carry on investing in fossil fuels and their infrastructure. We must quickly bring an end to things like Canadian tar sands and American shale gas. “We have to leave most of the fossil fuels in the ground and of course that has obvious implications for investment decisions this decade,” concluded Professor Steffen.

Another co-author of the report, Professor Lesley Hughes, says the math is simple. “In order to achieve that goal of stabilising the climate at two degrees or less, we simply have to leave about 80 percent of the world’s fossil fuel reserves in the ground,” she argues. “We cannot afford to burn them and still have a stable and safe climate.”

There is no way around it, our use of fossil fuels must be seriously curtailed if we are to reduce emissions and curb climate change.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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