Guide The Future of the Worlds Climate (2nd Edition)

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Known unknowns: The hidden threats that climate risks pose to British prosperity (2nd ed)

The use of coal, easily the dirtiest fossil fuel, grew at an annual rate of 3. Use of cleaner natural gas grew by 5. Even as green fund managers threaten to pull back from oil companies, state-owned behemoths in the Middle East and Russia see Asian demand as a compelling reason to invest. The second reason is economic and political inertia.

"Climate change: past, present and future" with Prof Sir David Hendry

The more fossil fuels a country consumes, the harder it is to wean itself off them. Powerful lobbies, and the voters who back them, entrench coal in the energy mix.


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Reshaping existing ways of doing things can take years. In Britain enjoyed its first coal-free day since igniting the Industrial Revolution in the s. Panjandrums in Delhi are not keen to countenance the end of coal, lest that cripple the banking system, which lent it too much money, and the railways, which depend on it.

Last is the technical challenge of stripping carbon out of industries beyond power generation. Steel, cement, farming, transport and other forms of economic activity account for over half of global carbon emissions. They are technically harder to clean up than power generation and are protected by vested industrial interests.

Successes can turn out to be illusory. The world is not short of ideas to realise the Paris goal. Around 70 countries or regions, responsible for one-fifth of all emissions, now price carbon. Yet none of these fixes will come to much unless climate listlessness is tackled head on. Western countries grew wealthy on a carbon-heavy diet of industrial development.

They must honour their commitment in the Paris agreement to help poorer places both adapt to a warmer Earth and also abate future emissions without sacrificing the growth needed to leave poverty behind. Averting climate change will come at a short-term financial cost—although the shift from carbon may eventually enrich the economy, as the move to carbon-burning cars, lorries and electricity did in the 20th century.

Politicians have an essential role to play in making the case for reform and in ensuring that the most vulnerable do not bear the brunt of the change.

Evidence-Based Climate Science - 2nd Edition

Perhaps global warming will help them fire up the collective will. Sadly, the world looks poised to get a lot hotter first. Join them. Subscribe to The Economist today. Media Audio edition Economist Films Podcasts. New to The Economist? Sign up now Activate your digital subscription Manage your subscription Renew your subscription.

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Economist Films. The Economist apps. Emmanuel Macron , President of France. Launched on December 12, in Paris, the inaugural One Planet Summit gathered more than 4, participants to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to engage public and private actors in the fight against climate change.

Factors Affecting Global Climate

Twelve international commitments were made, bringing together some thirty coalitions and initiatives, based on three key fields of action: increasing finance for climate change adaptation and resilience; accelerating the transition towards a low-carbon economy; and firmly positioning climate challenges at the heart of finance. The Summit will provide an opportunity to review progress made in implementing these commitments and to strengthen trust and collaboration among actors in order to foster ambitious new initiatives. Strong leadership is needed urgently. We must use every opportunity — including the One Planet Summit and the high-level session of the United Nations General Assembly — to mobilize world leaders for ambitious and immediate climate action.

The facts are clear and alarming: climate change continues to move faster than our efforts to address it.

We must all do far more in order to win this race for our future. Commitment to climate action is strong, investment is growing, and the Paris goals are within our reach. But we need to accelerate progress. The public and private sectors must work together more effectively to coordinate policy reforms that boost investment.

This will help us create new markets for climate action, especially in the developing countries that need it most.