Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

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

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

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

An Edith's Checkerspot butterfly in Los Padres National Forest in Southern California. Patricia Marroquin / Moment / Getty Images

Butterflies across the U.S. West are disappearing, and now researchers say the climate crisis is largely to blame.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A wildfire burns in the Hollywood hills on July 19, 2016 in Hollywood, California. AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images

California faces another "critically dry year" according to state officials, and a destructive wildfire season looms on its horizon. But in a state that welcomes innovation, water efficacy approaches and drought management could replenish California, increasingly threatened by the climate's new extremes.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Wisdom is seen with her chick in Feb. 2021 at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Jon Brack / Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge / Flickr / CC 2.0

Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.

Read More Show Less
Wind turbines in Norway. piola66 / E+ / Getty Images

By Hui Hu

Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.

Read More Show Less
Jaffa Port in Israel. theDOCK innovated the Israeli maritime space and kickstarted a boom in new technologies. Pixabay

While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.

Read More Show Less