Fossil Fuels Phase Out ::Gleaning from CAN 2014 PositionIntroduction
COP 21 agreement must pave way for an end to fossil fuel while accelerating 100% adoption and growth of renewable energy across the globe by 2050 (CAN 2014). Legally binding, ambitious but realistic mitigation commitments translated into actions in mind with common but differentiated responsibility.
Fossil Fuels Phase Out‘‘While Phasing out fossil fuel emissions is essential, deep cuts in all greenhouse gases are necessary. Any Solution to the challenge of climate change must address the land sector, which produces a quarter of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions More than all the world’s buildings and vehicles. To Stabilize the climate while satisfying growing demand for food and other agricultural products, including ensuring livelihood of millions of small holder farmers, the world must protect and manage forests and promote sustainable agricultural practices so that they act as sinks rather than sources of emissions Sequestering more carbon than they release, as soon as possible, while sustaining the human communities and ecosystems that rely on them while ensuring food security across the world is not hampered with these efforts. As Part of these efforts, zero deforestation must be achieved no later than 2020.’’
Long term climate sustainability requires immediate deep emission cuts peaking this year (CAN 2014). Delay means more adaptation and mitigation costs. The report further notes that Paris Outcome needs to give clear cut directions on carbon free emissions future while ensuring near term emissions reduction pave way for 1.5°C warming.
Fossil fuel complete phase out by 2050 so as to ensure warming remains below 2 °C which implies over 70% of fossil reserves will remain untapped. Paris agreement must echo clearly to all stakeholders including governments, private sectors, policy makers the transition from fossil energy to clean energy sources.
AR5 called on reduction in CO2 emissions between 2040-2070 by over 90% so at to hit 450PPM CO2eq by 2100 (AR5). Phasing out fossil fuel is critical however, according to recent IPCC findings there is need for sharp greenhouse gases cuts from agriculture, forests, among other areas. Forests conservation and protection is key just as sustainable agricultural systems are critical in greenhouse gas cuts. There is a window to limit warming to 1.5°C if greenhouse gases are phased out by half of this century according to Ecofys. Developed Nations Role
Developed countries leadership role in transitioning into clean energy as an example to developing countries while enabling the developing countries transition into clean energy and achieve sustainable development goals through climate finance.
Noting the gap currently in place to limit warming to 1.5°C ; there is need for immediate actions to avoid high costs of mitigation and adaptation, minimize disaster risks costs, avoid drastic emission cuts to achieve warming limit, and save the world from risks associated with use untested technologies (CAN 2014).
Carbon budget is dwindling yearly diminishing hopes of retaining warming to below 2°C as envisioned by the IPCC. However, the position of CAN is that warming should be limited to below 1.5°C above the preindustrial levels by 2100. Glacier melts leading to floods as a result of warming subsequently drought with 2/3 of central Asia glaciers disappearing by end of century unless climate change drivers not concentrated on. In Africa, extreme heat will cover large land areas for increased time making certain areas inhabitable as well as unsuitable for agriculture (World Bank 2014).Why Paris COP21 is Critical for Africa d Ecosystems
A 2°C limit at Paris COP21 will put Africa, Small Island Nations and least developed countries as well as sensitive ecosystems- Arctic and Coral reefs at greatest risk. 1.5°C warming above the preindustrial levels is an ‘acceptable’ target given the global warming path. This limit is not safe either but the dangers posed by the 1.5°C warming, though severe for some ecosystems can be averted or reversed.
Marine ecosystem destruction and island submergence with 30cm sea level rise would submerge 17% coastal areas and including Mombasa Island. Government of Kenya notes Inland lake expansion due to increased water volumes leading to submergence. Studies note that marine ecosystems destruction can take place within decades but requires millennia’s to recover (Sarah et al, 2015). Consequently warming climate creates more oxygen ‘dead zones’ leading to massive species deaths and inhabitable sites. At 2°C there would be species struggle for survival whereas 1.5°C will give species time to shift to other habitats. Heat waves and intense cyclones will disrupt livelihoods across Africa and other parts of the planet. 1.5°C-2°C warming 40-80% cropland loss as a result of expanding aridity and drought leading to serious deficits in production of maize, millet, sorghum by 2030-2040.
Policy, Funds, and technology are the tools for achieving a 1.5°C limit; this is well within reach of many developed nations. Low lying coastal zones and island nations would be lost unless drastic measures be taken to limit warming and ocean rise to below 1M. Historical responsibility in regard to emissions should be factored in the INDC; assessment of the submitted INDC shows they are inadequate to limit warming below 2°C or 1.5°C. China, USA, and EU submitted INDC only manage to limit warming to 3°C on aggregate when factored together; the three countries produce approximate 53% of global emissions (Robin 2015). Although already submitted INDC are not an end in themselves, there is need for world leaders to show ambition and commitment while appreciating the small window of opportunity left before irreversible impacts of climate change occurs.Summary of Global warming risks:Conclusion
Renewable energy technology is available but the adoption has been slow. Renewable energy forms have shown capacity to eradicate poverty and ecologically healthy. Renewable energy needs well developed infrastructure, power storage facilities, regional grid stem integration, proper and efficient polices, removal of fossil fuel subsidies, deployment of feed it tariffs, development and enforcement of regulatory frameworks on building codes.
Equity is a crucial component of the Paris Outcome. Common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities needs to ensure that:
- Warming is limited to below 1.5°C above the preindustrial periods considering the vulnerability of developing and least developed nations as well as sensitive ecosystems. Each country has a role to play in GHG cuts.
- Developed countries leadership role in halting GHG emissions as well as providing climate finance to developing nations for adaptation, mitigation and, technology transfer and capacity development.
- Transition requires financing which must be scaled up globally.
Currently submitted INDC’s aggregate only place the planet to a 3°C warming above the pre-industrial levels hence insufficient for the Paris pact. Nations have the opportunity to show more commitment, make history and preserve the planet for future generations.ResourcesLong Term Global Goals for 2050- CAN INT
- CAN position: Long term global goals for 2050, June 2014
- Sarah E. Moffitt, Tessa M. Hill, Peter D. Roopnarine, and James P. Kennett.Response of seafloor ecosystems to abrupt global climate change. PNAS, 2015 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1417130112
- World Bank (2013) What climate change means for Africa, Asia and the Coastal poor, http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2013/06/19/what-climate-change-means-africa-asia-coastal-poor
- Mburia R. (2015) Africa survival: Why warming must be limited to below 1.5°C, Climate Emergency Institute.