Bonn, Germany — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 13 June 2011 – The world is off course in fighting climate change and governments need to boost their green energies to build new momentum, according to the head of the U.N. panel of climate scientists.
Rajendra Pachauri said governments would face ever higher costs to slow global warming in the wake of new data which showed that greenhouse gas emissions had risen to new highs in 2010.
“We’re not on the right track,” he told the Reuters Energy and Climate Summit here in a telephone interview, adding “we are far away from a path of least cost in slowing global warming.”
The International Energy Agency said last month that world emissions of carbon dioxide had risen by 5.9% to a record high in 2010 as many economies rebounded from recession. Global warming could bring more floods, droughts, heat-waves and rising seas.
Pachauri, an Indian citizen, said the outlook was not all gloom if governments designed policies to promote cleaner energies such as wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower. Stronger policies to promote a shift from fossil fuels "could bring about fairly rapid movement in the right direction … One expects that there could be some kind of snowballing effect,” he added.
“Renewables are already viable in a number of applications,” he said. “At some level of promotion such as government regulation, subsidies or feed-in tariffs of minimum prices, a shift from fossil fuels could become self-sustaining.
"It’s essentially a question of policies by which the world starts moving in the right direction," he said. “We have the means, we have the technologies.”
A report by Pachauri’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last month said renewables could provide up to almost 80% of all energy by 2050 — with the right policies. At worst, they would account for 15% by 2050.