Top scientist urges Government to double its support for solar

by Search Gate staff. Published Thu 22 Oct 2015 10:22
World mayors urged to embrace three realistic measures

One of Britain’s top scientists, Professor Lord Rees of Ludlow, will warn a summit of world mayors gathering in Bristol that pledges made by world governments “even if fulfilled” may not be enough to stop annual emissions rising for the next 20 years.

Bristol, the 2015 European Green Capital, is hosting political leaders from around 20 countries to debate the future of cities ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21).

Lord Martin Rees, who wrote the book ‘Our Final Century’, will say that though he hopes “the world could segue towards a low-carbon future without trauma and disaster”, he is “an anxious member of the human race”, concerned that “we need to think ahead further than most politicians and planners do.”

In asking what it would take to mount a “general mobilization of humanity” he will say: “Imagine if world leaders held the Paris COP21 talks in a kind of multi-purpose combined casino-and-crèche, with a roulette wheel for their children or grandchildren to play with. Perhaps the images of that beamed into a billion homes might help humanity to wake up - to recognise that we confront a global emergency, and are recklessly gambling with our great grandchildren’s future.”

Ahead of COP21, Lord Rees will call on national governments to embrace three “politically realistic measures”:

* National and city government partnerships should promote measures that actually save money – improved energy-efficiency, insulating buildings better, lower-energy transport and lifestyle;

* Stronger focus on reduction of pollutants, methane and black carbon. These are minor contributors to global warming, but their reduction would (unlike that of CO2) have more manifest local side-benefits – in places like Beijing or Shanghai, for example;

* Double public research & development expenditure for ten years in “clean energy and all that goes with it”. This would include solar, storage and grids. Lord Rees will look to the day when transcontinental grids and energy storage together with developments in solar and other energy sources could deliver low-carbon energy worldwide. Lord Rees will point out that presently “only 2 per cent of publicly funded R&D; is in these areas.”

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