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Plans to exploit fossil fuels to force emissions 20 pct higher - report

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Tue, 22 Jan 2013 20:09 GMT
Author: Reuters Point Carbon
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LONDON, Jan 22 (Reuters Point Carbon) – Plans to increase coal, oil and gas production would devastate the world's climate, increasing emissions by 20 percent over current levels by the end of the decade, according to a report published Tuesday by campaign group Greenpeace.
Countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Indonesia and the United States are encouraging the development of such “mega projects” that would cause emissions to rise 20 percent per year by 2020, the report called Point of No Return claimed.


"With total disregard for this unfolding global disaster, the fossil fuel industry is planning 14 massive coal, oil and gas projects that would produce as much new carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2020 as the entire U.S., and delay action on climate change for more than a decade," the report said.

Most scientists say keeping global average temperature rises below 2C is necessary if the world is to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.

They say a rise of 6C would lead to catastrophic floods, storms, heatwaves, droughts, crop failures that could eventually kill or displace hundreds of millions of people.

Dutch climate consultancy Ecofys compiled the report for Greenpeace, which was released at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Some of the world’s most powerful political and business leaders have gathered in the Alpine ski resort this week to debate a wide range of global issues including climate change and energy policy.

“The companies promoting and the governments allowing these massive climate threats must replace them with renewable energy right away and become part of the solution to climate chaos,” said Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace.

The report said expansion of coal mining in China’s western provinces would account for almost a quarter of the additional 6 billion tonnes, making it the biggest global warming culprit of the 14 plans identified by the report.

An expansion of Australia’s coal mines would result in 759 million extra tonnes of CO2, followed by drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic (519 million tonnes) and an expansion of coal mines in Indonesia (458 million tonnes) and tar sands in Canada (424 million tonnes)

Plans to exploit massive amounts of the world’s fossil fuels come at a time that countries have dragged their feet on agreeing tougher carbon targets.

Developing countries argue they should be free to increase production of fossil fuels to lift their populations out of poverty and that rich countries should shoulder most of the financial burden in cutting emissions through developing and transferring renewable technologies.

A spurt in coal demand in big developing economies such as China and India drove global energy related CO2 emissions 3.2 percent higher in 2011 to 31.6 billion tonnes, according to the International Energy Agency.

Meanwhile developed countries such as Germany and the UK last year burnt more of the highly-polluting fossil fuel last year, amid cheaper coal imports, weak prices for carbon permits and the relatively high cost of gas.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here:

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/publications/climate/2013/PointOfNoReturn.pdf

By John McGarrity – john.mcgarrity@thomsonreuters.com

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