The theme for the BIEE seminar series in 2013 was Climate Policy in Crisis, based on the perception of a growing gulf between, on the one hand, aspirations for tight emissions limits based on the imperatives indicated by the climate science, and, on the other, the widespread projections of close to “business as usual” with relatively minor modifications to emissions trends and continuing growth in global emissions.
This positions paper is a think peice resulting from the seminar series, that has been produced by a group of ‘energy sector professionals’ and represents their collective viewpoint rather than any BIEE position . This group has become increasingly concerned with energy policy in relation to climate change.
The main conclusions they draw in the paper are as follows:
- An updated and compelling case for more vigorous action to mitigate climate change is both necessary and possible. Conventional cost-benefit analysis, while making a clear case for action, has almost certainly understated the scale of the dangers posed by current trends which pose very high risks of significantly exceeding current targets such as those associated with 2oC warming
- In particular there is a strong case for increased action now, because early emissions reductions delay adverse outcomes through their earlier and sustained impact on the critical causal factor of cumulative atmospheric CO2. This improves options for both mitigation and adaptation through earlier technology and infrastructure development. It also helps avoid the need for rapid and premature replacement of capital stock through later and deeper cuts.
- Clear pathways for decarbonisation need to be established, with the work of the Committee on Climate Change providing a useful exemplar.
- International co-ordination remains a critical goal, and the UK should continue to press for a strong agreement. However the absence of such an agreement should not be a pretext for lack of action at the national or EU level.
Full reports on the proceedings at the 2013 Seminars are available in the Downloads section of this site