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New UN warning on climate change

CLIMATE change campaigners have called on the Scottish Government to do more to reduce carbon emissions following a UN report that shows levels of greenhouse gases continue to climb.

EMISSIONS: Campaigners say Scotland must do more to curb its reliance on fossil fuels such as the oil refined at Grangemouth. Picture: Getty
EMISSIONS: Campaigners say Scotland must do more to curb its reliance on fossil fuels such as the oil refined at Grangemouth. Picture: Getty

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said that more investment in green technology was needed to curb the country's reliance on fossil fuels.

The latest study from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found output of carbon dioxide and other climate-changing gases has increased in recent years, despite efforts to tackle global warming.

It warned massive cuts to greenhouse gas emissions are needed in the next few decades to avoid dangerous climate change.

Tom Ballantine, chairman of Stop Climate Chaos, said the report highlighted the "massive risks" being taken with people and the planet.

He said: "This report tells us what nations across the world must, and can do. It is possible to avoid the worst impacts of climate change but we must drastically reduce emissions, starting now.

"The longer we wait, the more it will cost, not just in terms of money, but in terms of the massive impact it will have on people and environments around the globe.

"Taking bold action and leadership on climate change will allow Scotland to play its part in the global effort to avoid catastrophic climate change, and at the same time create a better Scotland, where we have warmer homes, healthier transport options and cleaner air."

The IPCC report said it was possible to keep global temperature rises to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, the level at which it is thought dangerous impacts of climate change will be felt.

But substantial reductions in greenhouse gases will be needed, through changes to energy supplies and use, as well as curbing deforestation and planting forests.

Emissions need to be reduced by 40% to 70% on 2010 levels by the middle of the century and to near zero by 2100 to make it likely temperatures will not go above 2C.

This will require a shift away from investment in fossil fuels and a three- or four-fold increase by 2050 in the share of energy from low-carbon sources such as renewables, nuclear and power plants fitted with technology to capture and store carbon underground.

By the end of the century fossil fuel power plants without carbon capture and storage will need to be virtually phased out.

Measures will be also needed to make transport cleaner, improve energy efficiency in homes, offices and industries and change behaviour to reduce energy demand.

Westminster Energy Secretary Ed Davey said that it was clear greenhouse gas emissions had accelerated in recent years due to human activity.

He said: "We need a large-scale change to our global energy system if we are to limit the effects of climate change. The longer we leave it, the more difficult and costly it will be. The UK is leading from the front with our European partners. We've adopted some of the most ambitious climate change targets and are investing in low-carbon and energy-efficiency technologies."

Scotland's Environment and Climate Change Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: "The findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are a reminder of the urgency and scale of the challenge and strongly reinforce the economic case for a swift and sustainable transition to a global low-carbon economy that delivers jobs, investment, trade, growth and equitable sustainable development."

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