WWF responds to the release of UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2014
“Hot on the heels of the IPCC report comes another scientific report, providing yet another stark reminder that there is a yawning chasm between what the scientists say we need to do to avoid dangerous climate change and what governments have so far promised to do to reduce their carbon emissions.
“If we don’t close this ‘emissions gap’ by 2020, our task will not only become harder and more expensive, but threatens the very survival of the world’s most vulnerable communities and habitats. Prevarication and delay are our enemies. As the report rightly notes, postponing rigorous action until 2020 will lock-in much higher costs and risks later on. This is an unacceptable legacy to bequeath to our descendants.
“We must end the era of dirty fossil fuels and move to an era of clean renewable energy as fast as possible. But we cannot do this without focusing simultaneously on energy efficiency. The less energy we use, the easier it is to get out of fossil fuels and into renewables. And energy efficiency offers a triple win: emissions reductions, energy security and green jobs. WWF has been calling for the scaling up of renewable energy (excluding traditional biomass) to provide 25% of global energy consumption by 2020 as a practical and sustainable way to reduce the emissions gap. By our estimation this could save 3.5GtCO2eq per year by 2020. Similarly, if the rate of energy efficiency improvement doubles to 2.4% per year by 2020, we estimate that 4-5 GtCO2e would be saved per annum by 2020.
“Next week, the world’s leaders will gather in Lima to begin the latest round of climate negotiations in an effort to secure a global climate deal in Paris in 2015 The report is a blunt reminder that promises for action only after 2020 will make it almost impossible to limit global warming to less than 2°C.”