Analysis

The Carbon Brief Interviews

  • 19 Jun 2015, 14:00
  • Carbon Brief Staff

Fatih Birol

15/06/2015

Dr Fatih Birol is the chief economist - soon to be chief executive - of the International Energy Agency. In an interview with Carbon Brief, Birol discusses discusses coal, renewables, China and whether global emissions are now starting to decouple from economic growth. Birol also spoke bluntly about current emissions reductions pledges: "The INDCs will not bring us there, where we want to go. They are far from bringing us to our 2C scenario".


View on YouTube

Christiana Figueres

11/06/2015

Carbon Brief spoke at length to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the  UNFCCC, at the Bonn climate conference. The interview covered defining success in Paris, how the  IPCC can complement the UNFCCC, and the feasibility of the 1.5C climate limit. Figueres was notably firm when discussing efforts to agree a global warming limit - "There is no doubt that it has to be below 2C" - and on how the Paris climate conference would proceed: "[The French] are not going to come with their own text. This is not a Copenhagen 2.0."


View on YouTube

Read more

Daily Briefing | Pope Francis blames 'human selfishness' for global warming

  • 19 Jun 2015, 09:00
  • Carbon Brief Staff

*Get the daily briefing in your inbox at 9AM - click here to subscribe**

Carbon Brief Explainer: Will rising temperatures mean more lives are saved than lost? 
Research published today says we shouldn't expect a drop in winter deaths as the world warms up, and climate change will have an overwhelmingly negative impact on death rates. Carbon Brief delves into the literature to weigh up the evidence on this complicated topic.   Carbon Brief 

Onshore wind subsidies: What we know 
Subsidies for onshore windfarms under the government's Renewables Obligation will end a year early, says the Department for Energy and Climate Change. Carbon Brief runs through what we know about the changes to onshore wind support, and what it might mean for the UK's renewable energy target.   Carbon Brief

Papal Encyclical: key statements on climate, energy and the environment 
Carbon Brief has read though the Papal Encyclical and here are the document's key statements. From fossil-fuel phaseout and solar energy, to international agreements and the precautionary principle.    Carbon Brief 

The story of the papal encyclical, as told by the media 
After months of speculation and expectation, the Pope has finally released an encyclical about climate change and our species' relationship with its natural environment. As the document dominates climate-related media coverage, Carbon Brief looks at how the Vatican's input into the global climate conversation was received.    Carbon Brief 

Climate and energy news

Pope Francis blames 'human selfishness' for global warming 
The Pope's eagerly-awaited encyclical was finally published yesterday. In his letter, Pope Francis urges the rich to change their lifestyles to avert the destruction of the ecosystem, reports the BBC. Unsurprisingly, the news was covered widely in the media. The Guardian says the encyclical is "moral call for action on phasing out the use of fossil fuels" that is "infused with an activist anger and concern for the poor". While The Financial Times says the near 200-page document "attacks the world's political and business leaders for failing to protect the environment". The Independent focusses on the Pope's call for a 'cultural revolution' to hold off 'unprecedented destruction' of the environment. Over in the US, The New York Times says the Pope has "aligned himself with mainstream science on climate", while The Guardian says that leaders of the Catholic church are already taking their 'marching orders' from the Pope to Congress and the White House for action on climate change. The inspiration for the encyclical was Pope Francis' time in Latin America, says The Economist as it asks what the letter means for them in a piece entitled "What would Jesus do about global warming?". But not everyone is entirely pleased with the encyclical. In his  Financial Times Blog, Nick Butler says the letter should shock readers because of "its attack on science and technology - the very tools, indeed the only tools, which offer a solution to climate change." Elsewhere, much of the media produced lists of 'things the encyclical tells us', with The Telegraph's 10 things trumping The Guardian's eight, Time magazine's five and Climate Central's four. If you want to re-live the announcement in real-time, both RTCC and The Guardian live-blogged the coverage. However, the best way to appreciate the whole week's coverage is to read Carbon Brief's  media round-up.     BBC News 

Tories to end onshore windfarm subsidies in 2016 
Subsidies for onshore windfarms will end from 1 April 2016, the government has announced - a year earlier than set out in the previous Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition. New energy secretary, Amber Rudd, says the change would not mean the government could not meet its targets for renewable energy by 2020. "Some experts have described their decision to kill the onshore wind programme as bizarre and irrational", says Roger Harrabin for  BBC News. This includes the Scottish government, who said the decision is "irrational" and "deeply regrettable", reports. Trade body RenewableUK says the decision could put the 19,000 jobs in the sector at risk, says   The Telegraph. Although The Times says 3,000 turbines that have planning consent and are awaiting construction could qualify for subsidies under a 'grace period'. The decision is "pure politics" argues Damian Carrington in  The Guardian, as wind power is overwhelmingly supported by the British people. And writing in the same paper, Polly Toynbee says the decision is "cavalier and contrary policy-making, designed to please the nimbys in its shire heartlands." You can read Carbon Brief's take on  the story.     The Guardian 

Government ordered to publish redacted fracking report in full 
A heavily-redacted government report on the impacts of fracking on house prices, businesses and services in rural areas must be published in full, the UK's information commissioner has ruled. The report was released in July 2014 in response to a freedom of information request from Greenpeace. The commissioner upheld Greenpeace's appeal against the 78 redactions, which gives the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 35 days to publish the report or mount its own appeal. RTCC also have the story.     The Guardian 

Read more

Explainer: Will rising temperatures mean more lives are saved than lost?

  • 19 Jun 2015, 00:01
  • Roz Pidcock

Higher temperatures and longer heatwaves will push more of us beyond our tolerance limits, leading to a rise in the number of deaths from heat-related illnesses, scientists say.

But you'll sometimes see it argued in  parts of the  media that the number of lives saved each year as winters get warmer will outweigh these extra deaths caused by heat-exposure.

new study strongly counters this view, however.

The research, published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters, says we shouldn't expect a substantial drop in winter deaths after all, and that rising temperatures will have an overwhelmingly negative impact on death rates.

While that last part is almost certainly true, delving into the literature suggests there's far more to this topic than headlines like this suggest. Carbon Brief weighs up the evidence.

As temperatures rise, so do the risks

Global temperature has risen by 0.85C over the industrial period and we're  already seeing more hot days, as well as more frequent and more intense heatwaves in Europe, Asia and Australia. Scientists expect that with further warming, heat waves will become more common.

Maximum summer temperatures in the UK are expected to rise  2.8-5.4 degrees Celsius by the 2080s, relative to the 1961-1990 average, for example.

UKCP3_Temp Projections Summer Max 2080

Maximum UK summer temperatures in the 2080s under a medium emissions scenario, relative to a 1961-1990 average. The middle panel is the central estimate. Source:  UK Climate Projections 2009

Read more

Onshore wind subsidies: What we know

  • 18 Jun 2015, 18:45
  • Simon Evans

Wind turbine and cow | Shutterstock

Subsidies for onshore windfarms under the government's Renewables Obligation (RO) will end a year early, says the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The move reflects a Conservative Party manifesto commitment to end "new public subsidy" for onshore wind, though, as things stand, alternative, more limited support could still be available.

The BBC reports that the decision has "baffled" the renewables industry, given onshore wind is the cheapest low-carbon energy source. It says the Scottish government is plotting a legal challenge. The Guardian says "political interests have trumped the national interest". Labour says the decision will increase consumer bills and cut jobs. The Mail says residents are to be given a veto over new windfarms, though not everyone agrees on whether the planning change is significant .

Coming just days after press reports suggested the UK was off track against its 2020 EU renewable energy target, the long-anticipated announcement has disappointed industry and confused everyone else. Carbon Brief runs through what we know about the changes to onshore wind support, and what it might mean for the UK's renewable energy target.

Read more

The story of the papal encyclical, as told by the media

  • 18 Jun 2015, 15:00
  • Sophie Yeo
Pope Francis in l'Espresso

L'Espresso story | l'Espresso

After months of speculation and expectation, the Pope has released an encyclical about climate change and our species' relationship with its natural environment.

An  encyclical is the highest form of communication that the Pope can issue. Today's  wide-ranging missive covers everything from batteries to deforestation, and from carbon credits to ecological debt.

This week, the 184-page document has dominated climate-related media coverage. Carbon Brief looks at how the Vatican's input into the global climate conversation was received.

Media frenzy

Media reaction intensified in the moments after the Vatican dropped the encyclical into the public domain at midday today in Rome. However, journalists' prepping had no doubt been aided by the leaked Italian version, which emerged in Italian magazine  L'Espresso on Monday.

The Washington Post rounded up reaction, ranging from "over-the-top enthusiasm" to "harsh dismissal", from figures such as German environment minister Barbara Hendricks and  snowball-throwing climate sceptic US senator Jim Inhofe.

TheBBC focused on the encyclical's call for the "end of fossil fuels".  The Guardian looked at its concern for the poor.  The Daily Mail included comments from those opposed to the pro-renewables stance of the encyclical.

There was a discernible effort to fit the Pope's message around unique, if niche, interests.

"'Dear Texas,' Pope Francis might as well have called his encyclical," said Texan paper  San Antonio Express News The Washington Times believed that the Pope had "blasted the Obama administration", despite there being no mention of Obama, or any other politician, by name in the text. "He is too polite to mention readers of The Guardian but we know what he means," said  The Telegraph.

Business-focused publications looked at the effect the encyclical could have on the corporate world.  Business Green said that the encyclical amounts to a "clarion call to businesses and society to step up efforts to tackle climate change". Its message will be "considered pretty seriously by at least 1.2bn consumers - the world's Catholic population", said  GreenBiz Reuters focused on the Pope's dislike of carbon credits.

The Guardian The Telegraph and  RTCC deemed the launch worthy of a live blog, where they captured the action and reaction as it unfolded.

Former BP chief Lord Browne tipped his hat to the Pope in  Gay Star News. He said: "I am sure that many Gay Star News readers disagree with the Pope on matters to do with sexuality. But I must confess that his call to action on climate change is right."

Others focused on the politics of the document.  The Conversation said its significance lies in how it "explicitly advocates that people turn to the political process when it comes to important decisions about the future of the planet".

Its influence in the political sphere was played out even ahead of the launch today. Comments by Catholic presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, who said that he does not "get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope", were widely reported ahead of the launch, including by  Politico The New York Times, and  The GuardianTIME said Bush's views were "hogwash".

In Australia, the  Sydney Morning Herald said that the encyclical was unlikely to escape the attention of domestic politicians: both prime minister Tony Abbott and opposition leader Bill Shorten are Catholics.

 

Read more

Papal Encyclical: key statements on climate, energy and the environment

  • 18 Jun 2015, 11:01
  • Carbon Brief Staff
Pope Francis

Pope Francis | Shutterstock

Carbon Brief has read though the Papal Encyclical and here are the document's key statements on climate, energy and the environment...

On technology

20. There is also pollution that affects everyone, caused by transport, industrial fumes, substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and agrotoxins in general. Technology, which, linked to business interests, is presented as the only way of solving these problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relations between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create others.

On human influence

23.  The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it. It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth's orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity. Concentrated in the atmosphere, these gases do not allow the warmth of the sun's rays reflected by the earth to be dispersed in space. The problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system. Another determining factor has been an increase in changed uses of the soil, principally deforestation for agricultural purposes.

24. Warming has effects on the carbon cycle. It creates a vicious circle which aggravates the situation even more, affecting the availability of essential resources like drinking water, energy and agricultural production in warmer regions, and leading to the extinction of part of the planet's biodiversity. The melting in the polar ice caps and in high altitude plains can lead to the dangerous release of methane gas, while the decomposition of frozen organic material can further increase the emission of carbon dioxide. Things are made worse by the loss of tropical forests which would otherwise help to mitigate climate change. Carbon dioxide pollution increases the acidification of the oceans and compromises the marine food chain. If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us. A rise in the sea level, for example, can create extremely serious situations, if we consider that a quarter of the world's population lives on the coast or nearby, and that the majority of our megacities are situated in coastal areas.

On migration

25. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever.

On energy transition

26. There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy. Worldwide there is minimal access to clean and renewable energy. There is still a need to develop adequate storage technologies. Some countries have made considerable progress, although it is far from constituting a significant proportion. Investments have also been made in means of production and transportation which consume less energy and require fewer raw materials, as well as in methods of construction and renovating buildings which improve their energy efficiency. But these good practices are still far from widespread.

On cities

44. Nowadays, for example, we are conscious of the disproportionate and unruly growth of many cities, which have become unhealthy to live in, not only because of pollution caused by toxic emissions but also as a result of urban chaos, poor transportation, and visual pollution and noise. Many cities are huge, inefficient structures, excessively wasteful of energy and water. Neighbourhoods, even those recently built, are congested, chaotic and lacking in sufficient green space. We were not meant to be inundated by cement, asphalt, glass and metal, and deprived of physical contact with nature.

On the treatment of the poor in politics

49. It needs to be said that, generally speaking, there is little in the way of clear awareness of problems which especially affect the excluded. Yet they are the majority of the planet's population, billions of people. These days, they are mentioned in international political and economic discussions, but one often has the impression that their problems are brought up as an after- thought, a question which gets added almost out of duty or in a tangential way, if not treated merely as collateral damage. Indeed, when all is said and done, they frequently remain at the bottom of the pile. This is due partly to the fact that many professionals, opinion makers, communications media and centres of power, being located in affluent urban areas, are far removed from the poor, with little direct contact with their problems. They live and reason from the com- fortable position of a high level of development and a quality of life well beyond the reach of the majority of the world's population. This lack of physical contact and encounter, encouraged at times by the disintegration of our cities, can lead to a numbing of conscience and to tendentious analyses which neglect parts of reality. At times this attitude exists side by side with a "green" rhetoric. Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

Read more

Daily Briefing | On eve of encyclical, pope appeals for 'our ruined' planet

  • 18 Jun 2015, 09:00
  • Carbon Brief Staff
Pope Francis on the popemobile bless faithful in St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis | Shutterstock

Get the daily briefing in your inbox at 9AM - click here to subscribe**

IEA: China should shoulder greatest burden in raising climate ambition 
China should take on more of the effort required to get the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change, according to a special report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). In an interview with Carbon Brief, chief IEA economist, Dr Fatih Birol, says the combined impact of current climate pledges are far from what's needed to limit warming to below 2C.    Carbon Brief 

Climate and energy news

On eve of encyclical, pope appeals for 'our ruined' planet 
Thursday is encyclical day. Rarely has a papal writing attracted so much attention as today's encyclical on the environment, says Reuters. Calling for more investment in renewable energy and access to drinking water as an essential human right, today's "highly personal and eloquently written" 192-page document is a resounding appeal to world leaders and ordinary people to tackle climate change as a moral imperative. The Financial Times calls today's encyclical the Pope's "most aggressive step yet into public policy" while an editorial says it looks set to be "one of the defining statements of his pontificate." Coming a few months ahead of international climate talks in Paris, the timing of the encyclical should not be underestimated, writes Camilla Toulmin, director of the International Institute for Environment and Development for RTCC. Many are hoping the Pope's words will sway public opinion in the US, where the issue of climate change is highly politicised. A survey ahead of the encyclical by the Pew Research Centre found 71% of US Catholics believe the Earth is warming but fewer than half think it's caused by human activity, reports The Hill. Meanwhile, US presidential contender Jeb Bush joined a conservative backlash against the Pontiff, saying he would not be guided by the church on climate change and urging Pope Francis to steer clear of global affairs, says The Guardian. In a separate article, The Guardian answers all your key questions on papal encyclicals, including when hey came into fashion and whether the Pope actually writes them.    Reuters 

New local community veto over onshore wind farms 
Local communities will today be handed new powers to veto wind farms, as the Conservatives press ahead with plans to halt the spread of turbines across the countryside, the Telegraph reports on its frontpage. The energy industry is also braced for plans - outlined in this DECC press release - of the Conservative manifesto pledge to axe subsidies for new onshore wind farms. "Up to 5.2GW of onshore wind capacity could be eligible for grace periods which the Government is minded to offer to projects that already have planning consent," stresses DECC. The Daily Mail also has the story, which carries a quote from Renewable UK saying it believes the new rules will "tilt the playing field" towards fracking.     The Telegraph 

Groundwater resources draining fast, NASA data show 
Extraction of groundwater for human consumption is depleting the world's natural aquifers, according to data from NASA's twin Grace satellites. New maps show a third of the 37 major groundwater resources are highly stressed, a problem that is set to worsen with climate change and population growth, says The Daily Mail. The two studies - the first to examine groundwater losses from outer space - show the most stressed aquifers are in extreme dry areas, such as the Middle East, northwestern India and Pakistan. Water scarcity has risky consequences for farmers and consumers, and is likely to intensify social problems, says Reuters. Lead author Prof Famiglietti tells The Financial Times, "We need to explore the world's aquifers as if they had the same value as oil reserves."Grist and Scientific Americanhave more on the story.     The Hill 

Read more

IEA: China has greatest potential to raise climate ambition

  • 17 Jun 2015, 15:30
  • Simon Evans
Yanjinhe Arch Bridge

Yanjinhe Arch Bridge | Wikimedia

The world is not on track to avoid dangerous climate change and China has the greatest potential to close the gap in climate ambition, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

In a special report on energy and climate change the IEA has added up the combined impact of current climate pledges and other likely policies, including China's hotly anticipated  contribution for the post-2020 period.

Dr Fatih Birol, IEA chief economist, says in an interview with Carbon Brief that these pledges are far from what would be needed to limit warming to below 2C. We've taken a look at which countries would make the biggest contribution to bridging the gap towards 2C, under the IEA's cost-neutral bridge scenario.

Climate ambition gap

The climate ambition gap is widely recognised. Last week, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres  told Carbon Brief it was "completely clear" that current pledges would be insufficient to avoid 2C of warming above pre-industrial temperatures over the course of the century - the internationally  agreed climate target.

The IEA's new assessment suggests they would instead put the world on track for 2.6C by 2100 and 3.5C after 2200. Their long-term impact may be "rather small", says Birol, but that's largely because they extend at most 15 years out to 2030.

The pledges collectively bend the world's emissions trajectory (blue line, below) away from business as usual emissions (green line) by 6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtCO2). Even in the short term, however, the gap between the pledges and what would be needed for 2C (yellow line) grows rapidly, reaching 9GtCO2 in 2030.

Emissions -paths -to -2030Emissions growth under the IEA's 'current policies' scenario, corresponding to business as usual (BAU), compared to the path with current climate pledges, the IEA's bridge scenario and a scenario consistent with 2C. Source: IEA special report on climate and energyIEA World Energy Outlook 2014. Chart by Carbon Brief.

Read more

Daily Briefing | Pope’s views on climate change add pressure to Catholic candidates

  • 17 Jun 2015, 09:00
  • Carbon Brief Staff
Jeb Bush speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

Jeb Bush | Flickr

*Get the daily briefing in your inbox at 9AM - click here to subscribe**

The Carbon Brief Interview: Dr Fatih Birol 
In an in-depth interview with Carbon Brief, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency - soon to be chief executive - discusses coal, renewables, China and whether global emissions are now starting to decouple from economic growth.      Carbon Brief 

Climate and energy news

Pope's views on climate change add pressure to Catholic candidates 
A day after the leaking of a draft of the papal encyclical on climate change much of the media was focused on what impact tomorrow's official publication might have on US politics. Davenport says that it "could put Catholics who question that established climate science in a tough position, particularly in a year in which at least five Catholics may run for the Republican presidential nomination". MSNBC reports how Jeb Bush, a Catholic candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, told a crowd in New Hampshire yesterday in response to the looming encyclical that "I don't get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope". In his Dot Earth blog for the New York Times, Andy Revkin urges cautiion among those hoping the Pope's intervention might provide a major breakthrough in triggering action on climate change: "Francis remains a man, not a Superman." Reuters reported on a new survey of US opinion on climate change by the Pew Research Center. It found that US Catholics are "split" on the causes, with 47% attributing warming to human causes. It added: "Among Catholic Democrats, 62 percent believe warming is caused by human activity, compared with 24 percent of Catholic Republicans." The Washington Post also takes a look at the survey. ClimateProgress looked through the draft encyclical for the "new quotes from the Pope that could change the debate on climate change". Meanwhile, the Daily Mail notes that the Archbishop of Canterbury chose yesterday to "launch a crusade" against climate change calling on all faiths to "limit global rise in average temperatures to 2C".      New York Times 

EU set to meet green energy goal but UK, Netherlands trail 
The European Union is collectively on track to achieve its goal of sourcing a fifth of its energy from renewables by 2020, although the UK, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are lagging behind other states, according to European Commission analysis. It found that the the transport sector - which accounts for around a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions - remained a problem area and was struggling to curb the use of fossil fuels. BusinessGreen said that "industry insiders maintain that the UK renewable electricity sector faces a number of risks as it seeks to build the pipeline of projects needed to meet the 2020 goal". The Guardian also carries the story.     Reuters 

Rising green energy levies 'risk public backlash' 
Rising green levies on energy bills risk causing a public backlash that will undermine efforts to tackle climate change, a leading left-wing think tank IPPR has warned. Ministers should overhaul a series of badly-designed policies that will otherwise leave consumers paying billions of pounds more than necessary for green energy over the next decade, adds the IPPR's report. Joss Garman, the IPPR's senior research fellow on energy and climate change, explains the thinktank's thinking at EnergyDesk: "The government should overhaul the funding model for low-carbon technologies to make it fairer. New research from IPPR shows that publicly-owned, privately-run new nuclear power stations could save billpayers up to £5.5bn. Adopting the development process that Denmark uses for offshore wind could save a further billion pounds. More savings could be made by extending emissions controls on coal-fired power stations, and allowing continued growth in the deployment of the most cost-effective renewable technology, onshore wind."      The Telegraph 

Read more

The Carbon Brief Interview: Dr Fatih Birol

  • 16 Jun 2015, 13:15
  • Simon Evans
Dr Fatih Birol

Dr Fatih Birol | Carbon Brief

Dr Fatih Birol is the chief economist of the International Energy Agency, and is responsible for its World Energy Outlook publication. He is also chairman of the World Economic Forum's energy advisory board. Before joining the IEA in 1995, he worked at the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna. Birol will take over as chief executive of the IEA in September.

On renewables and coal: "Renewables will be, if the INDCs [ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions] are implemented, in 2030 the first fuel in terms of providing electricity. Efficiency improvements accelerate by a factor of three, which is extremely important and we see that the coal consumption gets strong downward trend."

On current climate pledges: "The INDCs will not bring us there, where we want to go. They are far from bringing us to our 2C scenario."

On banning some coal plants: "The first area in terms of coal we should focus would be to ban inefficient coal-fired power plants and this can save a lot of emissions and this is not out of reach."

On carbon capture and storage: "Without having a significant carbon price in many countries it will be difficult to see CCS having an important market share."

On oil demand projections: "People who want to look at the future, need to look at the efficiency policies and their impact on the demand growth much more closely."

On a 100% renewable future: "If it is tomorrow, that's wishful thinking. But if it's in the very future, it is definitely feasible, and it is also something that I would like to see."

 

CB: Your bridge scenario, that you published today and identified additional action needed to keep the 2C goal in sight beyond what countries are already pledging in their INDCs [ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions], how confident are you, given what you've seen so far, that INDCs are the best way to capture national ambition and to ratchet it up over time?

FB: I think when we look at INDCs today, first of all from a political perspective, I am optimistic because for the first time I see there is a global growing commitments coming from many countries, developed and developing countries, and like Europe. We have seen many developing countries, like Ethiopia and Gabon, Russia, US, Europe, Canada and Mexico, they are all putting their pledges, and this is definitely very encouraging. At the same time, I see some other countries, such as China, such as Japan, making indications what they are going to do in terms of INDCs. Then we look at all of them together. They are covering more than two thirds of the global emissions, and then we look at the implications of those INDCs in terms of energy, there is a material impact on the energy sector.

Renewables are the main beneficiaries here. Renewables will be, if the INDCs are implemented, in 2030 the first fuel in terms of providing electricity. Efficiency improvements accelerate by a factor of three, which is extremely important and we see that the coal consumption gets strong downward trend, especially in the OECD countries, and slows down in the emerging countries. So, all in all, INDCs make an important change in the energy sector, and provide a much-needed momentum for the innovation and technology improvement. But the INDCs will not bring us there, where we want to go. They are far from bringing us to our 2C scenario. Since they are not bringing us to where we want to go, we want to build a bridge, which we call the bridge scenario. In this scenario, we have five major policy initiatives, which can be implemented tomorrow with no economic cost and with no new discovery of new technologies in place, so we can make it with existing technologies. As such, it is a set of policies which can help us to bring to a 2C trajectory - at least, leave the door open for a 2C trajectory.

Read more