November 3rd 2014
The new synthesis report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes clear the urgent need to decarbonise our economies if we are to avoid ‘severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems’.
Sadly, the latest targets on climate and energy agreed by European leaders last week show just how far we have to go in bridging the gap between the science and the politics. The IPCC calls for substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades and zero emissions by 2100. The 2030 40% carbon reduction target and 27% renewable energy generation and energy efficiency targets were far less ambitious than Greens had been pushing for. Indeed, the 27% renewables target will actually slow the current growth of renewable energy generation over the next ten years; disastrous for the South West economy, a region with one of the best prospects for renewable energy in the country and the thousands of green jobs this could create.
We need the EU to look again at its targets while the UK government must give up on its ‘non binding’ approach to these targets. We also need our government to cease immediately their support for the fossil fuel industry; Britain is the world’s fifth largest subsidiser of fossil fuels  and globally the industry enjoys around £400bn a year through subsidies.
It’s time instead for serious commitment and investment in the renewable energy technologies that will boost the South West economy and lead us to a carbon free world, something the IPCC makes clear, wont actually cost us the earth, though lack of political action on climate change might cost us exactly that.