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2015: A year of action on climate change

By The Africa Report
Posted on Wednesday, 28 January 2015 17:38

Change Conference will bring together UN member states to sign a legally binding treaty to reduce global carbon emissions.

The aim is to limit the warming of the planet to two degrees centigrade above the pre-industrial level.

To meet that target, emissions from the additional burning of fossil fuels would have to be restricted to 1trn tonnes of carbon dioxide.

At current growth rates, the world would reach that limit within 30 years.

Carbon emissions after that would trigger environmental catastrophe, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in November.

The panel says that Africa would be worst hit, with water shortages, refugee crises, the flooding of cities and island states, and the extinction of plants and animals as deserts expand.

Prospects for an agreement improved when the presidents of the US and China – Barack Obama and Xi Jinping– announced a groundbreaking agreement in Beijing on 12 November.

The US agreed to produce 26%-28% less carbon in 2025 than it did in 2005, and China said that 20% of its energy production would be green by 2030.

There is growing support – from more than 70 governments, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank – to set a global price for carbon.

Other incentives – cutting subsidies for fossil fuels, which are running at more than $600bn a year, and boosting subsidies for clean energy projects, which are just over a tenth of that – could help next year.

Nigerian banker Jim Ovia has been calling for state backing for loans and credit terms to favour green energy projects and penalise high-carbon ones. ●

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