SolarGeneration youth at a Buddhist temple in the small coastal village of Khun Samutchine, the first community in Thailand to suffer the direct impacts of coastal erosion caused largely by storm surges brought about by climate change. The temple, now beside the eroded coastline, was once located several kilometers from the beach.
Earlier this year, the IPCC issued their
strongest warning yet on climate change and detailed the
consequences if we fail to act. The latest IPCC report reviews
what we can do to reduce our global warming emissions, keeping
global warming from becoming catastrophic.
"With the final piece of the jigsaw in place the picture of our
options for the future is now in sharp focus," said Stephanie
Tunmore, Greenpeace International climate and energy campaigner in
Bangkok. "It is quite clear that immediate action to cut greenhouse
gas emissions is required. The longer the delay, the higher the
temperature increase and the greater the impacts; further
procrastination could have a devastating effect on the lives of
billions of people across the world".
According to the IPCC, nuclear power accounted for 16 percent of
the electricity supply in 2005 and could have an 18 percent share
of the total electricity supply in 2030, but "...safety, weapons
proliferation and waste remain as constraints."
What's more, other research shows we can reduce carbon emissions
much more cheaply and effectively using renewable energy and energy
efficiency measures. Dollar for dollar, investing in energy
efficiency is seven times more cost effective at reducing CO2
emissions then investing in nuclear power.
Even if it were safe or economical, it's also clear that nuclear
power capacity cannot be built rapidly enough to be much help. The
average construction time for nuclear plant completions 1995 - 2000
was 116 months (nearly 10 years). As a contrasting example, the
first offshore wind farm in the UK took only eight months to
All this makes the dangers of nuclear power a moot point.
Costs of climate change vs. costs of an energy [r]evolution
The projected costs of climate protection measures are far
outweighed by the costs of escalating climate impacts under
According to the report stabilization between 450 and 550 ppm
would cost from 0.2 percent to less than 3 percent of global gross
domestic product (GDP) in 2030, or less than 0.1 percent per
Figures for the cost of business-as-usual with no action are not
given by the IPCC, but according to the UK Government's Stern
report (October 2006) it could be 5-10 percent of global GDP and
under the worst case scenario it could rise to as much as 20
According to Sven Teske, Greenpeace International climate and
energy campaigner, "Our own global energy concept means that the
investment volume for new power plants until 2030 will be in a
range of 300-350 billion dollars per year - almost equal to the
amount of money currently spent on subsidies for fossil fuels. To
shift this money, and invest in renewable energy and cogeneration
could cut CO2 emission of the global power sector by half by 2030,
which is a win-win situation for utilities around the world".
But will governments and politicians listen?
At the start of the Bangkok meeting IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri
was asked how the organization would make governments listen to the
report findings. In reply he pointed out, "The IPCC doesn't have
any muscle, it has grey matter. The muscle will have to come from
That's why millions around the world are already mobilizing.
They're lobbying politicians, changing what they buy and making
smart energy choices.
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