054_G19_Arena

Global

Arena Environment Putting climate change into reverse The dangers of climate change are well known. But scientists are now saying that cutting our emissions won’t go far enough – we need to find a way to correct the damage that’s already done Jade Fell Scientists reckon the world needs to remain below a global temperature change of 2°C, compared to the pre-industrial climate, in order to avoid the dangerous effects of climate change. With global temperature threatening to overshoot the 2°C margin, experts on climate change have begun speaking out about alternative methods of bringing down global temperature and combatting the effects of excess CO2. Sir David King, the Foreign Secretary’s special representative for climate change, believes the root cause of the issue is the rapid growth in the global middle class. The global population was six billion at the beginning of the 21st century and is currently on track to reach nine billion by the 22nd century. With a growing population comes a growing middle class of people who are, according to King, defined by consumption. In 2000 people defined as middle class – those living on between US$10 and $100 a day – made up approximately a billion people globally. By 2010 this figure had risen to two billion and is expected to have reached five billion by 2030. According to King, the 19th and 20th centuries were the centuries of waste, with commodities being routinely extracted from the earth and thrown away, while the 21st century brought with it the terrifying realisation that resources were in short supply. Calls are now being made for global efforts to escape the waste economy of the 20th century and move towards a more caring economic outlook, one defined by clean energy utilisation and respect for the environment. Otherwise, King says, we could be headed towards an irreversible change in the Earth’s climate. “The fossil fuel society must become a thing of the past,” King said, speaking at the Africa Together conference held in Cambridge in May. So how could a more caring economy help towards achieving climate change aims? Richard Templer is the UK director of Climate-KIC, Europe’s largest public–private innovation partnership focused on climate change. According to Templer, the utilisation of clean energy is four 54 l www.global -br ief ing.org th quar ter 2014 global


Global
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