Climate Change Update - Where We are Going
| David Brown, Board of Governors, Friends of the Earth (HK)
The next major step forward is COP 26 Glasgow, in November 2021. It is
expected that all nations will submit new emission
reduction targets along with their plans to explain how they will reduce their emissions
by 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050.
is the last opportunity we have to avoid irreversible climate change and save humankind
on our planet.
To do this
it is imperative we reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 as the first step.
If we miss this target, we cannot avoid irreversible climate change.
Governments and politicians around the world are belatedly beginning to wake up
to the realities of climate risks. Legislation is being formulated that is
- share the burden of massive change (Green
- refocus market expectations (Carbon
- Provide incentives to expedite
carbon mitigating new technologies like renewables, zero carbon energy
- Remove barriers such as subsidies
for fossil fuels and impose a carbon price
Industries and investors have realised they must change and adapt to the
changing climate. They are demanding government action. Stock markets are
clearly favouring sustainable businesses and shunning dirty businesses.
economics of new technologies as well as renewable energy are natural drivers
of change. Wind and solar generation with batteries are now producing
electricity far cheaper than continuing to operate conventional generation.
many countries have recognised the one Key Enabler is putting a Price on Carbon emissions. This has
the natural effect of making high carbon products and services more expensive.
these developments demonstrate that there is a way to avoid irreversible
climate change, they all need to be significantly accelerated to meet 50%
carbon emissions reductions by 2030
not all Bad News - The Way Out.
Renewable, Zero carbon electricity such as wind
and solar and batteries are delivering electricity much cheaper than continuing
to operate conventional power stations.
electricity has a number of advantages over and above zero carbon emissions.
is Electric vehicles. EVs.
combustion engines are less than 30% efficient. EVs are greater than 80%
efficient. So we should adopt EVs now, even if the electricity supply is not
yet carbon free. Adoption of electric vehicles has started but needs to be
greatly expedited. We can do this NOW. This, in turn would have the flow-on
advantages of less demand for oil and gas and the significant reductions in air
about planes, ships and large trucks and busses?
The next big
zero carbon form of energy is Hydrogen.
hydrogen produced by electrolysis using renewable energy is a giant step
the fuel for Fuel Cells that generate electricity. The hydrogen is stored in
tanks. Fuel cells are ideal for large transport vehicles because they can run
on normal electric motors.
the next big use of hydrogen is for the production of green steel. At the
moment, 2.4kg of CO2 is emitted for every kg of steel produced. And
there are billions of tonnes of steel produced every year. Green steel using
hydrogen is virtually CO2 free.
demand for hydrogen is encouraging . Unfortunately it is not yet zero
carbon, but it is opening the way ahead for a global adoption of green
applications that use oil or gas can be converted to use electricity.
Fortunately, this is already happening and is a key component in reducing our
definitely a clear way forward to avoid irreversible climate change. The
technology is proven and it is, or soon will be economic to do so.
Zero carbon electricity, transport, steel and heating
will allow us to reduce our emissions by more than 50% by 2050.