Head of UN-backed climate change panel stresses benefits of limiting harmful gases

28 June 2011

The head of the United Nations-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today urged governments to work towards limiting emissions of greenhouse gases, saying the benefits included energy security, better health as a result of lower pollution, employment and higher agriculture output.

“I think it is now for governments to take a comprehensive view and irrespective whether there is a global deal or not on limiting the emissions of greenhouse gases – these co-benefits are attractive enough for governments to pursue on their own because they really are the objective and well-being of every society,” said Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of IPCC, told a news conference at UN Headquarters.

“If we allow emissions to continue on a business as usual basis then the impact of climate change will become progressively more negative,” said Mr. Pachauri when he outlined the details of a IPCC report that shows that renewable energy sources such as solar power, wind, biomass and hydropower could meet nearly 80 per cent of the world’s energy supplies by 2050.

Meanwhile, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed that new and renewable sources of energy are essential for meeting rising demand for energy, poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation.

“The United Nations system is working with Member States and international organizations to coordinate technology-transfer, financing and other initiatives that will promote access to energy and energy services, and the use of new and renewable energy technologies,” Mr. Ban told a roundtable discussion on the topic of “Renewable Energy in the Context of Green Economy.”

“The benefits are unquestioned. Economic… environmental… and social. Global competitiveness... air quality… health… local control of energy security… all this will be enhanced,” he added.

The Secretary-General called for national policy incentives by governments independent of the international climate change negotiations that will support the growth of renewable energy.

“Governments need to provide incentives that will create long-term certainty for investors… and that will reduce the cost of renewable energy to competitive levels.”

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Renewable sources can meet most global energy demands – UN-backed report

Renewable energy sources such as solar power, wind, biomass and hydropower could meet nearly 80 per cent of the world’s energy supplies by 2050 if governments pursue policies that harness their potential, a United Nations-backed report released today says.