Kerry: Climate report a wake-up call

Getty Images

Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday said a major United Nations report on climate change is a “wake-up call about global economic opportunity.”

“We’ve already had wake-up call after wake-up call about climate science,” Kerry said in a statement. “This report is a wake-up call about global economic opportunity we can seize today as we lead on climate change.”

ADVERTISEMENT
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that global emissions of greenhouse gasses have risen to unprecedented levels despite a growing number of policies to reduce climate change.

Emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades, researchers said in a report released Sunday.

Technology and changes in behavior, however, could limit the global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, according to the report, which said only major institutional and technological change will give a “better than even” chance that global warming will not exceed that threshold.

“So many of the technologies that will help us fight climate change are far cheaper, more readily available, and better performing than they were when the last IPCC assessment was released less than a decade ago,” Kerry said. “Good energy solutions are climate solutions and this report shines a light on energy technologies available right now to substantially reduce global emissions.

“These technologies can cut carbon pollution while growing economic opportunity at the same time. The global energy market represents a $6 trillion opportunity, with 6 billion users around the world. By 2035, investment in the energy sector is expected to reach nearly $17 trillion,” Kerry said.

The IPCC report shows that global greenhouse emissions would have to be reduced by 40 to 70 percent by mid-century, and to near-zero by the end of the century, to limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius.

Ambitious mitigation may even require removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the report added.

“We already know that climate science is unambiguous and that every year the world defers action, the costs only grow,” Kerry said. “But focusing only on grim realities misses promising realities staring us right in the face.”

Kerry added that the report makes it clear “we face an issue of global willpower, not capacity.”

"The newest IPCC report shows a wide range of options to cut carbon pollution, including the use cost-effective clean energy,” Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “The longer we wait to act, the harder and more expensive it will be.”

More in Energy & Environment

Kerry going to Peru for climate talks

Read more »