Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Global Community must deploy low carbon technologies now to tackle climate change

Global Community must deploy low carbon technologies now to tackle climate change

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (News Release ref : 122/07) issued by The Government News Network on 4 May 2007

The technologies that can help combat climate change already exist, the latest international report on climate change has concluded today.

Low carbon ways of generating energy and heat and powering transport are already available, but the report, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), notes that without agreement on how to cut emissions globally, and the introduction of policies that can help put these technical solutions into practice, greenhouse gas emissions will increase by between 25 to 90% over the next two decades.

The report also notes that postponing action to cut greenhouse gas emissions will make it more difficult and expensive to reduce emissions in the future, as well as creating higher risks of severe climate change impacts.

Welcoming the new report, Environment Secretary David Miliband said:

"Last year, the Stern Review showed that we needed to act urgently to tackle climate change and that it was economically feasible to do so. The IPCC has today confirmed that finding - and that we have access to the technology we need to take that action. We simply can't afford any other option but to act, and to act now.

"Without a new global deal on climate change, emissions of greenhouse gases will continue to increase. While this risks increasing the suffering of many of the world's most vulnerable people as a result of drought, food shortages and floods - the UK and other developed countries will not be immune from the consequences.

"That's why we're pushing hard for negotiations to start on a new global climate deal this year - and are working through the G8 group of nations and the UN climate change conference.

"We in the UK are also serious about meeting our own global responsibilities to cut emissions and recently published the draft Climate Change Bill, which will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050, and support us in becoming a low-carbon economy."

Trade and Industry Secretary Alastair Darling added:

"Over 20 trillion dollars needs to be spent globally on energy infrastructure like power plants over the next 25 years. Our aim is that this money is spent on technology that is low-carbon and not high-carbon.

"It is crucial that governments around the world not only encourage these technologies, but also implement policies to support them.

"This report makes clear that putting a price on carbon, so that polluters pay the price of their emissions, is critical. Measures such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme help business find cost effective ways of reducing emissions and encourage the take up of low-carbon technology.'

A global carbon market plays a vital role in creating global prices for carbon and can stimulate private investment in clean technology and energy efficiency, rewarding businesses which develop future technologies first. These markets, worth over 7.6 billion euros in 2005, can also generate enormous resource transfers to developing countries through the Clean Development Mechanism. However, emissions trading is not enough to drive investment in low carbon technology. That is why the UK is working to promote low-carbon energy and technology take up through the Gleneagles Plan of Action, agreed at the G8 summit in July 2005. The plan is aimed at boosting the deployment of clean technologies, such as renewable energy technology and carbon capture and storage, as well as providing incentives for large scale private sector investment in low carbon technologies, working with the World Bank.

The UK is also working closely with key countries such as India and China in promoting new technologies. The near-Zero Emissions Coal (nZEC) project aims to demonstrate coal fired power generation with carbon dioxide capture and storage technology in China by 2020. The UK is also working with India on a project to assess the barriers to the transfer of low carbon energy technology between developed and developing countries.


1.Today's report can be found at: This is the third Summary for Policymakers to be published as part of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The full underlying reports will be published separately throughout this year. This will be followed by a synthesis report that will encapsulate the key conclusions of the three Working Groups. The Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC builds upon past assessments and incorporates new results from the past six years of research. The summary of the first report on the science of climate change was published on 2 February 2007, and the full report is now available online.

2. The IPCC is sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). It was set up in 1988 to assess the scientific and technical aspects of climate change, and has produced a series of publications, which have become standard works of reference. The reports and technical summaries are prepared wholly by the scientists from all regions of the world. More information is available on the IPCC website

3. The IPCC does not carry out research. It bases its assessment primarily on peer reviewed and published scientific/technical literature.

4. The UK provides financial support to Professor Martin Parry, who co-chairs the IPCC Working Group II (WGII) on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, and the WGII Technical Unit, which supports Prof. Parry in this role. Previously Defra funded the TSU for Working Group I, which Sir John Houghton co-chaired for fourteen years.

5. The UK Government also supports the head of the technical unit responsible for production of the Synthesis Report.

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