Governments ‘in denial’ over climate change threat

Governments and businesses around the globe are “in denial” over the growing threat of climate change. The comment from environmental group WWF follows the publication of the International Energy Agency’s […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Governments and businesses around the globe are “in denial” over the growing threat of climate change.

The comment from environmental group WWF follows the publication of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) new report. It suggested no more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed before 2050 if the world is to limit global warming to 2°C goal.

The WWF said it was “crazy” that Governments are still backing fossil fuels over renewables.

Keith Allott, Head of Climate Change at WWF-UK said: “The IEA have delivered yet another sober assessment of our failure to put the world’s energy systems onto a sustainable path. Many Governments and businesses are clearly in denial over the threat posed by climate change and need to accept that we have to start leaving fossil fuels in the ground rather than dashing to develop new reserves. It’s simply crazy to think otherwise.”

Although the report predicted renewables could be the world’s second-largest source of power generation by 2015 and could account for almost one-third of the total electricity output by 2035, a Professor from a University in Switzerland said the IEA “seriously underestimates” the “key role” renewables could play for climate change.

Professor Rolf Wuestenhagen, Director of the Institute for Economy and the Environment at the University of St. Gallen, who also serves as a member of the advisory board for the Swiss Government’s energy strategy for 2050 said: “The IEA spent less than half a page of the seven-page executive summary on renewables, despite their observation that it is going to be the world’s second-most important source of electricity by 2015. This raises a question about how the IEA sets their priorities.

“There is a surprising contrast between the IEA’s observation about the increasingly likelihood that the world will miss the 2º climate stabilisation target and their continued optimism about rising shares of fossil fuels, which are absolutely incompatible with the climate targets.”