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OECD warns fossil fuel emissions must end

October 16, 2013
tags:#carbon emissions, #climate change, #environmental damage
by:Itai Lahat
At the beginning of this month, we got a reminder of a subject we all like to ignore: climate change. It came from the OECD, a well-respected organisation of 34 industrial countries - including the United States - which is known for advancing market-based solutions. Now business and industry are talking on this issue, maybe more will listen.

It is no small deal to see the OECD making this announcement. It went something like this (Nina Chestney for Reuters):

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria acknowledged that climate change had serious economic consequences that could not be ignored. He said simply reducing emissions would not be enough to lower the economic costs because carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere. Sixty percent of every ton of CO2 emitted now will still be in the atmosphere 20 years from now and 45 percent 100 years from now, he said, citing a scientific report this year from several universities and research centers around the world. "We need to achieve zero emissions from fossil fuel sources by the second half of the century," Gurria told reporters at a briefing in London. "That doesn't mean by 2050 exactly but it means by that time we need to be pretty much on the way to achieving it," he said. "This is worse than a debt because there is no bailout and if you have two or three good budget years a debt can be reduced, but emissions hang around for 100 years," he said.

For those of us still battling with the doubt of climate change actually happening, it is time to understand that if an all economic growth organisation says it’s a duck, than it is a duck. So now that everyone and their sister is beginning to realisethat there is no actual discussion over the question “is climate change real?” it’s time to learn what it actually means for us.

Grist's climate and energy policy writer David Roberts has put together an updated and grimmest climate talk you'll ever see delivered on a TED-affiliated stage. Roberts addresses not only the sad consequnces that await us, but also discuss our lack of discussion of this not so sexy subject. Sexy or not, it’s here for us to deal with.

“This is all gloom and doom — not even much humor”, writes Roberts in the breakdown of his talk. I know that turns people off or shuts them down. I know people need to feel a sense of hope and efficacy. I know — indeed, have recently been writing — that we need a vision of a sustainable future. But I needed to do my own version of “Danger Will Robinson!” Just to get it on the record”.

Image: Copyright by World Economic Forum. by Sebastian Derungs


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Itai Lahat