As his Combat Climate Change (3C) initiative gathers momentum, Vattenfall chief executive Lars Josefsson has called on business leaders and governments around the world to develop a global policy framework to combat climate change.
Participating in a major round table session at the World Energy Congress in Rome in November, Josefsson outlined 3C’s recently launched roadmap, which recommends specific action steps that world governments should make a priority in order to overcome the global climate problem.
The 3C initiative was founded by Josefsson earlier this year and now consists of 46 international companies including ABB, Alstom, Centrica, Dong Energy, Fortum, NRG Energy, Siemens, GE, Enel and E.ON.
In advance of the upcoming climate change negotiations in Bali, Indonesia, 3C is calling on governments to commit to a series of concrete steps such as the setting of a global goal of a maximum acceptable temperature increase and the creation of a stable global market for emissions trading. The recommendations are based on thorough analysis of how to reduce global emissions cost-effectively, says 3C.
In its roadmap, 3C says that although further research is necessary to understand the mechanisms and impacts of climate change, the science is sufficiently clear for industry, governments and society to take immediate action. Its key recommendation is that the international community must agree on a global goal to limit the world’s temperature increase, and to define emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2050 on that goal.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that in order to avoid severe environmental impacts, the mean surface temperature rise should be limited to less than 2°C over pre-industrial levels. This is an achieveable goal, says 3C, but is one which will require a switch to a low-emitting economy.
3C believes this limit is achievable because significant emissions abatement can be achieved at low cost and with technology that is commercially available today – the so called ‘low hanging fruit’. It warns, however, that no sector or abatement opportunity should be ignored.
The greatest opportunity for low-cost emission abatement lies in establishing a stable, long-term market for carbon, backed by supporting policies to overcome market imperfections. A credible, global emissions trading system is therefore required as a carbon price mechanism to promote abatement measures.
The sooner that governments introduce a global emissions trading system the better, says 3C, but it recognises that such a wide-ranging international system would have to be introduced in small steps, and that while such a system would help to achieve emission reduction targets, no market is perfect and it would have to be backed by a number of policies. Minimum requirements for energy efficiency and CO2 equivalent (CO2e) efficiency should therefore be set.
Critically, 3C recognises the importance of technology development in overcoming climate change. While current technology can meet current needs, new technology is required to meet future abatement targets and economic growth, and although the carbon price should incentivise industry to invest in developing technology, supporting mechanisms are required to ensure that a technology ‘push’ is achieved. 3C has therefore recommended that public support be aimed at a number of key, emerging technologies such as carbon capture and storage, offshore wind, second-generation biofuels and solar photovoltaics.