In a 5-Part series on his column, The Capitol Energy Report, Center for Clean Energy Innovation Executive Director Matthew Stepp and Amanda Kibbe walk readers through the 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. The scientific consensus on climate change has not only gotten stronger and more certain, its message has become more dire. As the global climate continues to change and impact the weather, agriculture, and ecological systems, the world’s window for limiting climate change’s most dangerous temperature changes is quickly closing. Social, political, and economic resistance to the dominant policy responses to climate change are delaying action, largely because clean energy technologies remain more expensive and performance limited than fossil fuels, outside of a few niche markets. Many in the climate community are also unrealistically representing the potential cost and barriers of moving to a global clean energy economy, particularly with existing technologies. And the IPCC, more direct than ever, finds high likelihood the world will be unable to cut carbon emissions as quickly as necessary, requiring the need to develop carbon removal technologies.
Looking ahead to the conclusion of international climate negotiations in Paris at the end of 2015, the world has a window of opportunity to set global and national policy on the right path. Ultimately, only the innovation of cheaper and better clean energy, carbon sequestration, and carbon removal technologies gives a fighting chance at mitigating climate change.
Beyond Paris, Part 1: Humans are Changing the Climate for the Worse
Beyond Paris, Part 2: The Dire Consequences of Inaction
Beyond Paris, Part 3: Overshooting Dangerous Warming Likely, But for How Long?
Beyond Paris, Part 4: Putting an Asterisk on Climate Change Mitigation Cost Projections
Beyond Paris, Part 5: Pivoting International Climate Policy to Innovation