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Environment Ministers Meet to Accelerate Transition to a Low Carbon Society

02-21-2008 03:36 PM CET | Energy & Environment

Press release from: Mandoga Media

H.E. Sigmar Gabriel, German Minister of Environment speaks in Monaco / Photo: Mandoga Media

H.E. Sigmar Gabriel, German Minister of Environment speaks in Monaco / Photo: Mandoga Media

More than doubling annual improvements in energy efficiency could play a key role in averting catastrophic climate change, a report to environment ministers says.

Over recent years advances and investments in energy savings in areas from transport and power generation to industry and households has been reducing the intensity of energy used by one to one and-a-half per cent a year.

"If the rate of energy efficiency improvement could be increased to 2.5 per cent world-wide it would be possible to keep carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere below 550 parts per million (ppm) through the end of the century," the findings suggest.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2,000 plus scientists established by UNEP and the World Meteorological Organisation to advise governments, estimates that to avoid dangerous climate change emissions need to be stabilized at between 535 to 590 ppm in 2050.

An increase in investments in low carbon and renewable energies is also underway which, if accelerated and fostered widely could also assist in meeting global climate change targets alongside helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Currently close to 60 countries have targets for renewables including 13 developing countries while around 80 have market mechanisms in place-feed-in tariffs and renewable portfolio standards- to encourage renewable energy development.

These policy measures are playing an important role in driving national and global markets.
In 2007, financial transactions in the sustainable energy sector reached $160 billion up from just over $100 billion in 2006.
A fundamental change is also emerging in terms of the range of investors entering these markets.

"The quickest growth in sustainable energy capital mobilization has come from four sectors that had previously shown little interest-venture capitalists and private equity investors; public capital markets and investment banks," says the report being presented to the annual gathering of environment ministers at UNEP's Governing Council-Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF) in Monaco.

Achim Steiner, UN Under Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: " A transition to a low carbon society and a Green Economy is underway driven by the science and treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol and prospects, emerging as part of the Bali 'Road Map', of an even more deeper and decisive emissions reduction regime post 2012".

"UNEP is among a variety of key players catalyzing this transition and overcoming barriers through partnerships with the financial services sector and industry. Pioneering work with local banks to offer low cost solar loans in India has brought clean energy to 100,000 people within three years," he added.

"An initiative to provide seed money for clean energy entrepreneurs has spawned close to 50 new enterprises in Africa, China and India. The Principles for Responsible Investment, facilitated by the UNEP Finance Initiative and the UN's Global Compact, has secured the support of over 275 institutions handling assets of over $13 trillion dollars," said Mr Steiner.

"Among the challenges facing ministers in Monaco is how to accelerate this transformation to ensure that it is far reaching, widespread and above all speedy. Separate but related challenges include securing the billions of dollars of additional funding needed to assist developing economies to adapt to the climate change already underway alongside the incentives or markets and mechanisms that will be needed to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation," he added.

"The UN climate convention estimates that an additional $200 to $210 billon will be needed to return emissions to 2004 levels and perhaps as much as close to $200 billion for adaptation measures. Mobilizing this funding on a reliable and consistent basis would appear to be a bargain given the wide social, economic and environmental benefits that will flow-and indeed already area flowing- from such policy decisions," said Mr Steiner.

Mandoga Media
Alexander Sandvoss
Residence Beausjour
06240 Beausoleil

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