In this video released just ahead of the start of the COP 20 climate talks in Lima, Peru, UN Executive Director Achim Steiner outlines a number of important climate efforts and related economic opportunities. The reality of climate change is a clear and present danger for all countries and reinventing our economies to mitigate against these threats is possible. Despite skepticism, there are good reasons to be hopeful. In the wake of the successful climate meeting in New York and the IPCC’s fifth assessment report, the world appears to be prepared to act on the climate crisis.
The urgency to act is being driven by the science which shows that the natural world is losing its capacity to store carbon. Our forests and our oceans are saturated and this demands that we restore the natural world and investing by investing in our eco-systems which represents a tremendous opportunity.
The scaling up of Renewable energy is an example of a great success story in both developed and developing countries. Needed actions include doubling fuel efficiency which would remove 1 gigaton of carbon from the atmosphere and save $300 billion. We could achieve a 70 percent abatement of atmospheric CO2 through energy efficiency alone.
Another area showing great promise involves investments in short lived climate pollutants (SLCP). We can also see tremendous benefit form reducing methane that escapes into the atmosphere from landfills and fossil fuel extraction. Eight percent of methane emissions results from gas flaring related to fossil fuel extraction.