• Major Oxford University Report Concludes That Individual Governments Must Take More Action to Curb Emissions

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Major Oxford University Report Concludes That Individual Governments Must Take More Action to Curb Emissions

Jul 28 2011

The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford has published a report that recommends that individual governments must take more action to curb their own emissions and put pressure on other governments to do the same.

The report, a detailed analysis of international efforts to address the impacts of climate change, also found that many of the current actions pledged by countries are still a long way from what is necessary and that we need a refocus on the issue from heads of state at G20 level, in parallel with the UNFCCC process, which should focus on bilateral and national actions.

The report also puts forward a series of actions that should be considered:

Limit emissions from deforestation through incentive-based policies.

Increase R&D spend, particularly within the energy sector, with public sector funding leveraging significant private sector investment.

A significant price on CO2 emissions to encourage investment in the green economy.

Bringing developing countries into the carbon markets in order to encourage low carbon development, provide finance and make the most of mitigation opportunities.

Sir David King, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, said:

“International climate negotiations can only go so far. Systems such as pledge-and-review set up in Copenhagen and Cancun are a useful way forward in the absence of an internationally legally-binding agreement, but individual Governments must provide urgent political leadership - that is not happening at present.

It is simply not acceptable that major developed nations such as the US are not behind a global agreement. The US, despite some good rhetoric and with the exception of California, is still a blocker when it comes to reaching a global agreement, with other nations, namely Japan and Russia, becoming increasingly vocal in their resistance to a second commitment phase (post 2012) to the Kyoto Protocol”.

Kenneth Richards, Visiting Fellow at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, said:

“A strong move towards a green economy and global equity is central to the debate. According to the IEA global energy demand is predicted to grow by 55 per cent by 2030. Just over 90 per cent of the increase in the energy demand from 2007 to 2030 is projected to come from non-OECD countries.

Ideally, we would have a global cap and trade system to engage the business and financial community and generate financial flows from the developed to the least developed world. We would have a seamless system to address forest carbon in both industrialised and developing countries. To reach that goal, strong decisive steps are required from key governments to place us on a path to long-term, stable and appropriate prices on greenhouse gas emissions. This will send a clear signal to the corporate sector and stimulate investment to produce innovative solutions”.

The report also emphasises that funding for mitigation and adaptation in the least developed countries is critical. The Green Climate Fund set up in Cancun marked one way in achieving this. Equity is also critical and needs to be properly considered in any proposed solutions.

The Smith School has published the report on its website, which can be accessed on this link: http://www.smithschool.ox.ac.uk/research-centres/reports/


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