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Energy efficiency: The 70% solution to carbon cuts

cfl-from-aboveWith today’s release of a report showing how world leaders can tackle climate change through technology, Tony Blair is expected to call for immediate action on energy efficiency, as well as a definitive commitment to develop next-generation, low-carbon technologies.

The Climate Group’s “Technology for a Low-Carbon Future” report was released just days before US President Barack Obama chairs a meeting of the major economies to discuss progress towards a new global climate agreement at Copenhagen later this year.

The report finds that 70 per cent of the reductions needed by 2020 can be achieved by investing in energy efficiency — lighting, vehicles, buildings and motors — and by reducing deforestation.

Such strategies can deliver major short-term cuts in emissions, giving us time to invest in next-generation technologies that can drive down emissions through to the middle of the century. Those strategies include carbon capture and storage, new approaches to nuclear and solar, and emerging biotech-based solutions.

“Just as investing in electrification, railways and the Internet led to economic growth in the past, investing in clean energy can help reignite the global economy now,” said former Prime Minister Blair.

Among the report’s main findings:

  • Major emission reductions are achievable by 2020 if we focus action on certain key solutions now;
  • Fully 70 per cent  of the reductions needed by 2020 can be achieved by investing in energy efficiency — lighting, vehicles, buildings and motors — and by reducing deforestation, the costs of which are manageable and generate positive returns;
  • Just seven known policies that are already being successfully implemented in different parts of the world can deliver these reductions: they just need scaling up;
  • We need to invest now in the development of those future technologies that will take time to mature, in particular carbon capture and storage (CCS), large scale solar and new-generation nuclear, along with public infrastructure such as smart grids; and
  • International cooperation spurred by an ambitious agreement in Copenhagen can rapidly bring costs down and accelerate scale up of both current and future technologies.

“This report shows how major reductions even by 2020 are achievable if we focus action on certain key technologies, deploy policies that have been proven to work, and invest now for the development of those future technologies that will take time to mature,” Blair said. “And these technologies bring economic and social opportunities too.”

He continued, “This is not mission impossible. On the contrary, with the necessary decisions now, there is a credible, practical realistic as we as radical way to act. We can set the world on a new path to a low-carbon future; the Major Economies Forum is able to put in place a framework for a successful global accord in Copenhagen in December.”

“Many businesses are already leading the way by investing in innovative and exciting clean technologies — including solar power, electric vehicles and smart buildings — that cut emissions, help growth and create jobs,” said Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group. “Politicians must now match this leadership by agreeing challenging targets that provide a clear framework for transformational investment in the low-carbon economy.”

1 Comment

  • Erik van Erne, Milieunet Foundation
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 6:59 am

    Yep, and the best step is saving energy. What we don’t use, we don’t need to produce.

    So, when you want to start saving energy right now have a look at these energy saving tips: http://tinyurl.com/d6xrkp

Comments are closed.

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