A leaked copy of the final report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reveals a stark warning - we either shift to a low-carbon economy now or prepare to face the worst effects of global warming. Our options are being steadily foreclosed by our delay in acting.
A leaked version circulating with media outlets and news agencies says that despite national policies and international efforts emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are warming the planet grew 2.2% per year on average between 2000 and 2010, compared with 1.3% per year from 1970 to 2000.
The two main drivers were a sharp rise in economic growth and a steady growth in the world's population, the report said. The largest contributor to global emissions was the burning of oil and coal and the draft report says its contribution is expected to rise. Unless "explicit efforts" are made to reduce emissions, the experts warn, increased conservation and efficiency will not be enough.
With increasing demand for energy and the growing use of coal to generate electricity, the experts say emissions from the sector are projected to double or triple by 2050 from the level in 2010 unless improvements in clean energy are "significantly accelerated".
The report comes hot on the heels of a largely unnoticed report by the Harper government to the U.N. showing that, instead of our carbon emissions decreasing as promised, Canada's emissions will increase by 38% by 2030. The culprit, naturally, is Athabasca Tar Sands expansion.
In a new report to the United Nations, the Harper administration says it expects emissions of 815million tonnes of CO2 in 2030, up from 590Mt in 1990. Emissions from the fast-growing tar sands sector is projected to quadruple between 2005 and 2030, reaching 137Mt a year, more than Belgium and many other countries, the report shows.
Worse, Canada is likely under-reporting its emissions. An investigation in 2013 found that Canada's reported emissions from its natural gas sector, the world's third largest, could be missing as much as 212Mt in 2011 alone.
The IPCC report atop the Harper report follows word that the world could face an oil and gas energy crunch possibly as soon as 2015 and probably before 2018. That could, of course, ramp up demand for that other, really nasty but oh so abundant fossil fuel, coal.