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Nicholas Stern welcomes emissions budget set out in new climate change report

27 September

Welcoming the publication today (27 September 2013) of the Summary for Policymakers of the contribution of working group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Lord Stern of Brentford, chair of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science, and President of the British Academy, said:

 “This is a comprehensive and important report, prepared by 259 experts from 39 countries, and governments and other policy-makers should read it very carefully. The report makes clear that the Earth is warming and the climate is changing, that human activities are primarily responsible, and that without very strong cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases, we face huge risks from global warming of more than 2°C by the end of this century compared with the period before the Industrial Revolution. All governments have already agreed that it would be dangerous to exceed a threshold of global warming by 2°C. Delay is dangerous because greenhouse gases are accumulating in the atmosphere and because we are locking in high-carbon infrastructure and capital."

"This report points out that to have at least a 50 per cent chance of keeping within that limit, we must emit in total no more than about 820 and 1445 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases during the rest of this century. Given that the world is currently emitting about 50 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases in terms of carbon-dioxide-equivalent each year, this report implies that, even if we were to stay at current levels, we would exhaust the emissions budget within 15 to 25 years. And if we continue to increase annual emissions, the budget will be depleted even sooner. That is why I think nations, cities, communities and companies will recognise the importance of these findings and will increase the urgency and scale of the emissions reductions that they are planning to undertake. I also expect this emissions budget to focus the minds of governments in the international negotiations towards a new climate change treaty, to be signed in Paris at the end of 2015. The transition to a low-carbon economy, led by private sector investment, in the context of sound public policy, will be full of opportunity, discovery, innovation and growth.”

For more information about this media release, please contact Bob Ward on +44 (0) 7811 320346 or r.e.ward@lse.ac.uk|.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. Lord Stern of Brentford is chair of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, as well as I.G. Patel Professor of Economics and Government, at London School of Economics and Political Science. He is also President of the British Academy.

2. The ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (http://www.cccep.ac.uk/|) is hosted by the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics and Political Science. It is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (http://www.esrc.ac.uk/|. The Centre’s mission is to advance public and private action on climate change through rigorous, innovative research.

3. The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (http://www.lse.ac.uk/grantham|) was launched at the London School of Economics and Political Science in October 2008. It is funded by The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment (http://www.granthamfoundation.org/|)

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