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Utility Week 18th April

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UtilitY WEEK | 18th - 24th April 2014 | 15 Policy & Regulation Market view T he UN Intergovernmental Panel on Cli- mate Change (IPCC) released the third and final instalment of its big report last weekend. It calls on policymakers across the globe to come together to formulate ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions and avert the worst impacts of climate change. In 1992, countries agreed to curb global greenhouse gas emissions to try and pre- vent temperatures from rising by more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels. For this to remain possible, countries are going to have to make some significant emissions cuts over the coming decades, the IPCC says. The report suggests that if countries' emissions keep rising, they will have to make major cuts towards the middle of the century to keep to the two degrees pledge. To avoid warming of more than two degrees, the IPCC calculates the world needs to stop greenhouse gas emissions rising to more than 50 gigatonnes in 2030. That means the world's emissions pathway keeping within the dark green chunk of the graph, above. The problem is, countries' cur- rent emission reduction pledges mean emis- sions are more likely to be somewhere in the lighter green chunks on the graph. The longer we leave it to get ourselves back on the right course, the steeper the reductions will have to be to bring emissions back down to a level at which countries can still hit the two degrees goal. If emissions between 2005 and 2030 are within the dark green chunk, then reductions between 2030 and 2050 will need to be around 3 or 4 per cent a year. If emissions follow a path within the lighter green chunks, reductions will have to be closer to 5 or 6 per cent a year between 2030 and 2050. To make those sorts of cuts, countries would have to rapidly scale up low-carbon energy production and could find them- selves relying on geoengineering solutions to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the IPCC says. So where can emissions reductions be made? In the graphic "Emissons by eco- nomic sector", each chunk of the doughnut represents a particular sector's emissions. It shows that in 2010 (the most recent year for which data is available), the energy sup- ply sector was responsible for 35 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions ("electricity and heat production" and "other energy"). Agri- culture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) was the next biggest emitter, responsible for 24 per cent of emissions. Meanwhile, indus- try was responsible for 21 per cent, and the building sector a relatively paltry 6 per cent. Such figures partly explain why many government policies to cut emissions are directed at decarbonising the energy sec- tor. Likewise, it explains why transport and building policies – such as the Green Deal – sometimes slip down the government's agenda. However, energy is generated largely to supply other sectors (as the expanded sec- tion on the graph shows). The graph's right panel shows that emissions from indus- try and the building sectors grow signifi- cantly once energy's "end use" is taken into account. That means policies targeting energy users (rather than suppliers) might be just as effective, and should perhaps be a higher priority. The IPCC says that international co- operation is essential if the world is going to curb emissions and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. That means policymakers working together to implement policies at the local, regional, and global level. These charts show the extent of that challenge. This article by Mat Hope first appeared on Carbon Brief, a website dedicated to climate and energy news and analysis (www.carbonbrief.org) The big picture on emissions The IPCC's long-awaited third report on efforts to combat climate change through emissions reductions paints a stark picture of where the world stands, says Carbon Brief. emissions PaThWays To 2030 emissions by economic secTor Electricity and heat production 25% AFOLU 24% AFOLU 0.87% Indirect CO2 emissions Direct CO2 emissions Greenhouse gas emissions GtCO2eq/yr 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 Cancun pledges Annual emissions in 2030 <50/GtCO2eq 50-55/GtCO2eq >55/GtCO2eq Actual rate of change in CO2 emissions (2030-50), %/yr Buildings 6.4% Buildings 12% Transport 14% Transport 0.3% Industry 21% Industry 11% Other energy 9.6% 75 70 65 60 55 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 Energy 1.4% 49Gt CO2 equivalent (2010)

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