There is a significant problem around the world in that the use of fossil fuels is not declining, despite constant warnings from scientists about the fate of our planet if we do not change our usage of these fuels.
The emission of carbon dioxide is not falling, in fact it increases every year, and this goes to show we are not becoming any more efficient in how we use fossil fuels. Politicians are not helping us to reduce the amount of carbon we are emitting but they are encouraging us to burn more fossil fuels by subsidising them.
Previously world leaders were criticised for not moving fast enough on the action to reduce carbon emissions. This was not something they seem to take on board and now the warning is even more bleak, the progress in reducing the number of carbon emissions is actually not working at all and the situation is becoming worse.
Unfortunately, many politicians have become concerned with economics over the environment. In the last few years economic crisis has gripped many countries and for this reason focus on carbon emissions has declined. However, it is important that politicians realise what a serious issue this is.
The International Energy Agency has recently issued a warning that if the world’s countries do not dramatically adjust the rate at which they are burning fossil fuels, the Earth will be condemned to reaching a temperature two degrees above what most governments deem safe.
The International Energy Agency are not known for overestimating, and they state that if this change doesn’t happen by 2017 then this two degrees rise is an inevitability. Unfortunately, the politics of the matter are years behind the science. The Climate Change Minister for the U.K. is Greg Barker and he has recently said that it is likely a global climate deal will be reached by 2020.
If governments fail to take action the IEA predicts that the state of the world is going to be disastrous within decades. If current energy policies are met then the world’s average temperature is going to increase by 3.5 degrees Celsius, this will make large parts of the world very unpleasant to live in and mass migrations will take place as people move to more tolerable climates.
If the energy policies currently established fail, then the picture is even more bleak. The IEA predicts that the average temperature on the planet will increase by six degrees which will make large portions of it uninhabitable.
Many people have been very critical of the UK government for being silent on environmental issues. The prime minister has failed to address climate change and the Chancellor has also been remarkably silent. It is very clear that a serious investment needs to be made into global climate change, not tomorrow, but today.
With the economic crisis gripping many countries, they have used it as an excuse to not make progress on environmental issues. The IEA estimates that if action is not taken today the cost of the same action in the future will be much more expensive. It states that if one dollar of investment is not made today, the cost will be over four dollars by 2020.
The UK recently suffered a serious setback as plans for its first carbon capture and storage plant collapsed. However, it is essential that the technology is focused on as it will be vital for the country in 2020. If this sort of technology cannot be utilised then there is going to be an enormous burden on other forms of low carbon technology. The IEA clearly state that action must be taken now to avoid future catastrophe.