EXCLUSIVE: Global deal on CO2 emissions ‘not enough’ to reduce current levels

Action can and should be taken to cut CO2 emissions at a local level in the absence of a global deal, which, on its own, would not be enough to tackle the planets rising CO2 levels, says the Carbon Trust's Eric Lounsbury.

Following the release of a report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on Wednesday, which called for a global CO2 emissions deal to be set, associate director of the Carbon Trust Eric Lounsbury told edie that because there has been relatively slow progress on a global deal, Governments and businesses around the world need to get “serious” about reducing their CO2 emissions at a national and regional level.

The CCC’s report claimed that if the UK’s emissions are to fall an ambitious and comprehensive global deal driving new policies will be essential so that global emissions are reduced in a “manner consistent with the climate objective”.

It also showed that the UK’s carbon footprint has increased by 10% over the past two decades, as growth in imported emissions has more than offset the 19% reduction in production emissions.

“The CCC report touched on some of the measures that can be taken in the absence of a global deal, such as sectorial agreements, border adjustments and linking of emissions trading systems but these need to see more uptake as we have not yet achieved a global deal,” said Lounsbury.

He added that the global deal would set the framework and the high level commitments but effective implementation at a national and regional level would be needed to realise the reductions in emissions that the global deal sets.

“You need the policies at a local level to deliver the global commitment. For example, we’ve had the Kyoto deal which is the nearest to a global deal we’ve got and to deliver this the EU has had to come up with a number of policies which are implemented in their own respective ways in EU Member States,” he said.

However, Lounsbury explained that tackling CO2 emissions was not all about setting policies and commended the report for highlighting the need for footprinting a company’s specific action on reducing emissions.

“Companies are increasingly seeing their action on CO2 emissions as an important element to their business, strategically in managing their stakeholders and reducing their cost base. And companies can take action now for their own commercial benefit”.

Mirroring Lounsbury’s comments, director of Innovation and Policy at the Carbon Trust, James Wilde, said: “While we agree with the report’s assertion that a global deal to drive emission reductions is important, it is our experience that such a deal will never replace action at the local level by Governments, business and consumers.

He added: “Businesses can benefit by measuring and reducing the carbon embodied in their supply chains and by communicating this to consumers through product carbon labelling. Consumers would then be more empowered to buy low carbon products wherever they are produced in the world.”

Leigh Stringer

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