Lord Stern: IPCC report to provide ‘impetus’ for reducing emissions

Governments around the world are likely to increase their emissions reductions after reading the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, says Lord Nicholas Stern.

In a speech at the Royal Society today on ‘Growth, Innovation, International Understanding and Climate Policy in a Changing World’, chair of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) Professor Stern pointed out that the publication of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report later this week and today’s launch of the new Global Commission on the Economy and Climate should provide the impetus for countries to increase the urgency and scale of their emissions reductions.

Stern said: “Following the publication of the IPCC report, which will provide a very clear picture of the huge risks posed by unmanaged climate change, I would expect more countries to follow the example set by the UK, and to introduce domestic legislation to create the necessary commitment to reduce emissions in line with the goal of avoiding global warming of more than 2°C.”

Bringing attention to the growing momentum towards an international agreement, due to be signed at the United Nations summit in Paris in December 2015, Lord Stern says: “Many countries, including the biggest emitters, are increasing action against climate change and not waiting for an international agreement.

“Not only do they recognise the huge risks created by unmanaged climate change, but they see the big economic opportunities presented by the transition to low-carbon growth and development. These actions will, in turn, reinforce movement towards an international agreement,” he added.

However, Stern said the European Union should show leadership on the road to a new international agreement in 2015 and provide a strong example by setting a target to “reduce its emissions by at least 50% by 2030 compared with 1990”.

“It can and should do this. Anything less would be a failure to show the required ambition,” said Stern.

“Now is also the time for the UK to push for this target among other European countries and to confirm, rather than weaken, its own target to reduce its emissions by 50% by 2027, as set out in the fourth carbon budget which was agreed by Parliament in 2011,” he added.

Leigh Stringer

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