Mattia Romani, James Rydge, Nicholas Stern

The world is heading in a difficult and dangerous direction. A range of estimates based on current plans and intentions arrive at similar conclusions: at best, global emissions will plateau at around 50 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide-equivalent per year over the coming decades, with a strong possibility they will go much higher. The scale of the risks from these levels of emissions is immense, with likely changes in climate way beyond the experience of modern civilisation.
The overall pace of change is recklessly slow. We are acting as if change is too difficult and costly and delay is not a problem. The rigidity of the processes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the behaviour of participants also hinder progress. And the vested interests remain powerful.
Despite the slow overall pace of change, there are strong signs of activity and creativity across the world. And we have learned much over the past decade about the scale of the risks, the technologies required and the economics. Accelerating the pace of change towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy is both feasible and crucial; with the right incentives rapid transformative change is possible, even in capital-intensive sectors such as energy.

2 thoughts on “Mattia Romani, James Rydge, Nicholas Stern

  1. shinichi Post author

    We know what we need to do, how to do it and there are some signs of action: we are seeing the beginnings of a transition to feasible and attractive low-carbon and more resource-efficient paths which can radically reduce the immense risks of climate change. Greater pace of action is possible and strong policy will be key. The politics is not hopeless. Notwithstanding the economic and financial crises in the developed world and campaigns of disinformation from climate deniers, there are influential voices offering and seeking such leadership, as was evident with the comments of New York City Mayor Bloomberg after Post-tropical Storm Sandy. Strong leadership will be crucial given the stark reality of the emissions arithmetic for a 2°C path and its requirement for radical change in both developed and developing countries. What we need now is renewed leadership that can forge a new way forward that brings developed and developing countries together in a way that builds trust and overcomes barriers to progress.

    Equitable access to sustainable development is a concept that, with strong leadership, has great potential to bridge the divide and build dynamic partnerships between countries, creating the opportunity and scope to accelerate action across the world. Its development requires analysis and discussion. Equity is clearly central; this concept must involve recognising that rich countries have a great responsibility to support the transition of developing countries to the new low-carbon growth paths. These paths are likely to be full of creativity, innovation and growth and will involve breaking the link between growth and emissions, not stopping growth. With the potential of alternative low-carbon paths so real, accessible and attractive, it is surely reckless to go on as we are with emissions rising year- on-year and our negotiations dogged by narrow-mindedness and rigidity.


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