Chemical Engineers Push for Climate Change Policy

by | Apr 24, 2014

trillion tonne communiqueThe Institution of Chemical Engineers has signed the Trillion Tonne Communiqué, a global call to arms from businesses and organizations that demand a proactive policy response to climate change.

IChemE’s support for the Communiqué comes on the heels of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report published earlier this month. The IPCC report calls for a major shift towards renewable energy and an increase in the use of natural gas to help bridge the transition away from fossil fuels.

The Communiqué calls for a timeline for reducing emissions to net zero, a transformed energy system, a focused plan to manage the use of fossil fuels and an increase in the pace and scale of plans to mitigate climate change. The Trillion Tonne Communiqué — a name that refers to the maximum amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius or less — also wants climate change to be integrated into national and corporate risk management.

The Communiqué was produced by The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group: a group of business leaders from major UK, EU and international organizations that say new and longer-term policies are needed to tackle climate change. More than 1,000 companies from more than 60 countries have signed at least one previous Communiqué.

The IPCC, the UN’s top panel on climate change, said in its April report that emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades.

The report says estimates of the economic costs of mitigation vary widely, with ambitious mitigation reducing consumption growth by about 0.06 percent points a year. The underlying estimates do not account for the economic benefits of reduced climate change.

The report concludes that it’s possible to limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees C above pre-industrial levels using a wide array of technologies and behavior changes. To have a good chance of staying under this threshold, global GHG emissions must fall by 40-70 percent by mid-century, and near-zero by 2100, compared with 2010.

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