Climate change: Davey calls for new deal on emissions as UN warns of a catastrophe

 

A A A

The Government has called for a new ambitious deal on global emissions in wake of a landmark United Nations report that demands bold action to avert a climate change catastrophe.

The final part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, produced by 1,250 international experts and approved by 194 governments, was published yesterday. The Secretary of State for Energy Ed Davey said in response: “We need a worldwide, large-scale change to our energy system if we are to limit the effects of climate change”.

He also called for international leaders to work together with “enforced vigour” to secure an ambitious legally binding global agreement on climate change in 2015.

Yet last night it emerged that the Government’s fuel duty freeze will boost Britain’s GDP by 0.5 per cent over the coming years, reinforcing George Osborne’s reputation for putting economic growth ahead of tackling climate change.

An analysis commissioned by Mr Osborne shows that more than half the revenue lost by freezing petrol and diesel at around 58p per litre will be recovered by the Treasury in duty paid on extra fuel consumption.

The figures, however, will dismay green groups as they suggest that the freeze has led to increased car and truck use and rises in emissions.

They come as the IPCC report says that the world needs to more than triple the share of energy it generates from clean energy if it wants to keep the global temperature increase below 2C, the target agreed by the UN to avoid the most dangerous changes in the world’s climate.

If these changes are introduced in the short term, the report says, the impact on global economic growth would reduce global annual economic growth by as little as 0.06 percentage points, but if they are delayed it warns the economic costs will rocket.

Mr Davey’s response to the report comes amid accusations that the UK Government is stunting the growth of the renewable energy sector through direct attacks on the industry and a failure to provide long-term direction on policy and subsidies.

Vince Dale, CEO of UK green energy supplier Ecotricity, said that while the government has acknowledged warnings from the UN about climate change they are “clearly pulling in the opposite direction”. “The Conservatives appear to have an ideological opposition to renewable energy and have taken a series of steps in the past 24 months to curb the onshore wind and solar industries,” he said.

“It’s been clear this Conservative Government has laying the groundwork to replace clean wind power with dirty fossil fuels in the form of shale gas fracking.”

Amid growing policy uncertainty, plans for UK wind farms have been slashed over recent months – including the planned expansion of world’s biggest offshore wind farm, the London Array. It announced the cancellation of its entire second phase on 19 February.

In the wake of the report, Friends of the Earth executive director Andy Atkins said: “The IPCC report is clear: we already have the technologies to make the journey to safe, clean energy. But the clock is ticking, we must act now.”

The report comes amid a global slump in renewable energy investment.

Last year global clean energy investment fell by 11 per cent to $254bn (£152bn), according to research published on 3 April by Pew Charitable Trusts. The worldwide slump is being driven by continuing policy uncertainty in some of the world’s biggest economies and a growing exasperation among governments about ballooning subsidies for the renewable sector.

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families