‘Governments Fail to Understand Gravity of the Situation’ – Stern
By Stephen Leahy
[I wrote this piece 16 December 2009 and it remains fully relevant today and is posted here for 1st time. And please note that the +5C cited here is the global average which means the warming could easily be 10 C warmer where you live. All of this is well beyond anything humanity has ever faced — Stephen]
On its current carbon emissions path, humanity faces a 50-percent chance of warming the planet a whopping 5.0 degrees C by the end of this century, warned Nicholas Stern, an economist who is chair of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics.
“Hundreds of millions of people will be forced to move. It will be the most severe global conflict in human history. That is what the science is telling us,” said Stern, author of the well-known Stern Review, the 2006 report that documented the effect of global warming on the world economy.
Humanity’s other option is to embrace a new energy revolution unlike anything ever seen.
And cities will be on the leading edge of this revolution, he said.
Cities use 80 percent of all energy and are responsible for the bulk of emissions. The good news is that cities are also the easiest places to get major emissions reductions because energy services are centralised and collaboration is easier.
“Local mayors and councils can more easily agree on policies and direct their administration to take action,” he said.
“Cities are already doing the work of national governments on climate,” said David Cadman, president of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, an international association of local governments that is hosting a mayors’ conference featuring mayors from more than 100 cities as part of the climate negotiations here.
Copenhagen to be carbon-neutral by 2025