Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Stern Warns Humanity Is at Climate Crossroads, Radical Action Needed in Paris

Climate

The lead author of the 2006 Stern Review on the economics of climate change says that although there will be an agreement at the UN climate conference in Paris, COP21, in December, it’s what happens afterwards that is crucial.

Professor Nicholas Stern warns: “Whatever way we look at it, the action we need to take is immense.”

If governments delay taking decisive measures to halt greenhouse gas emissions, he is convinced that a tipping point on climate will be reached. “In Paris, we need recognition of what we need to do—and how radical that change will be.”

If governments delay taking decisive measures to halt greenhouse gas emissions at COP21, Professor Nicholas Stern is convinced that a tipping point on climate will be reached.

Awareness of Urgency

Stern, chair of the UK’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and a former chief economist at the World Bank, will be involved in the Paris negotiations.

He told a packed audience at Oxford University that, on the plus side, there is now a much greater willingness to work towards a meaningful agreement on climate change.

Generally, there is far more awareness of the urgency of the issue. China and the U.S. are not—as in the past—“dancing around each other,” but co-operating on how to bring down emissions.

Stern said that during talks coinciding with the state visit to the UK by China’s President, Xi Jinping, Chinese officials said the country’s emissions would peak by 2025 and then start declining. Previously, China said it would not reach peak emissions till 2030.

“I’m very optimistic about what we can do,” Stern said. “That’s not the same as saying I’m optimistic about what we will do.”

According to calculations on greenhouse gas emissions made by countries around the world in the run-up to the talks in Paris, billions more tonnes of climate-changing COwould be pumped into the atmosphere up to the year 2030.

After that, if climate change is to be tackled, there will have to be dramatic emission cutbacks—ultimately to zero.

“The cost of inaction is far more than the cost of action,” Stern said.

Zero Emissions

Infrastructure that will shape the rest of the century needs to be built—and such projects have to be in tune with the goal of a zero emissions future. As more people move to cities, urban areas being built need to be climate-friendly and energy-efficient.

With current interest rates on the floor, and likely to be so for some time to come, Stern asked: “If this is not the time to invest, when is?”

Stern said that, in the past, some had questioned the fight against climate change, saying that overcoming poverty was more important.

But he argued that the challenges of overcoming poverty and climate change are interlinked. “If we fail on one, we fail on the other.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

It’s Time to Jump on the Train to the Future: All Aboard the Low Carbon Express

Philippines to World Leaders: Our Survival Is Not Negotiable

24 Videos That Turn the Tide on Climate Change

10 Groundbreaking Solutions for a Sustainable Planet

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Luxy Images / Getty Images

By Jo Harper

Investment in U.S. offshore wind projects are set to hit $78 billion (€69 billion) this decade, in contrast with an estimated $82 billion for U.S. offshore oil and gasoline projects, Wood Mackenzie data shows. This would be a remarkable feat only four years after the first offshore wind plant — the 30 megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island — started operating in U.S. waters.

Read More Show Less
Giacomo Berardi / Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed both the strengths and limitations of globalization. The crisis has made people aware of how industrialized food production can be, and just how far food can travel to get to the local supermarket. There are many benefits to this system, including low prices for consumers and larger, even global, markets for producers. But there are also costs — to the environment, workers, small farmers and to a region or individual nation's food security.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Joe Leech

The human body comprises around 60% water.

It's commonly recommended that you drink eight 8-ounce (237-mL) glasses of water per day (the 8×8 rule).

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. JustTulsa / CC BY 2.0

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Read More Show Less