We are losing climate change race, says Davey

 

A A A

The world is losing the race to keep global warming in check, the Energy Secretary has conceded.

Ed Davey delivered the candid assessment of the international community's collective failure on the eve of major UN negotiations in the Gulf state of Qatar on a new treaty to combat climate change.

The Liberal Democrat minister said attempts to prevent global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level, generally regarded as global warming's danger threshold, were not on course to succeed.

"As things stand, the world is plainly not on track to keep the global temperature increase from climate change below two degrees," Mr Davey told The Independent before leaving for Qatar. "The UN Environment Programme said last week that at best, current commitments [to cut greenhouse gases] would take us somewhat short of half way towards a climate-safe trajectory; and a World Bank report published the same week showed some of the dangers of a world warmed by four degrees.

"Anyone who engages seriously with the science is right to be concerned."

Average global temperatures have already risen about 0.8 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Attempting to keep the rise to below two degrees is the official aim of the UN's Climate Convention, and the official policy of Britain and the rest of the EU.

The conference in Qatar's capital, Doha, marks the beginnings of talks aimed at constructing a comprehensive new agreement to cut carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions that are causing the warming that will be legally binding on all countries of the world.

The treaty, which should be signed in 2015 and come into effect in 2020, will for the first time place a legal obligation to cut CO2 on the world's three biggest emitters, China, the United States and India, which between them account for nearly half of all the emissions going into the atmosphere.

But many observers are increasingly concerned about the so-called "emissions gap" – the divergence between the CO2 emissions limits that are necessary to keep below two degrees, and what is actually being emitted. The so-called "emissions gap" is widening every year, according to the UN Environment Programme referenced by Mr Davey.

However the Energy Secretary, who will lead the British delegation in Doha, said he still saw reasons to be hopeful. "Two degrees is still within reach if we can muster the political will," he said.

The conference is scheduled to finish on Friday.

News
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Steven Fletcher scores the second goal for Scotland
cricketBut they have to bounce back to beat Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing