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Wind Directions: To emit or not to emit? The world’s leaders decide

07.12.2009

The climate conference in Copenhagen is imbued with huge global significance: its outcome may well have a direct impact on our global future. The latest issue of Wind Directions, now online, explores what is at stake.

The run-up to the conference, at times seemingly endless, was dotted with new post-Copenhagen scenarios for what that future would look like. They ranged from the total annihilation of the planet to a James Bond-style nick-of-time world rescue thanks to the drastic and immediate slashing of carbon emissions.

However, the most respected voices are in unison, predicting a real catastrophe if ambitious agreement is not reached rapidly.

“The world’s leading scientists warn that we have less than 10 years to avoid the worst-case scenarios”, stated UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September this year.

“If we take no action […] average temperatures by the end of the century would increase anywhere from 1.1°C to 6.4°C […] We must halt this unacceptable trend”, said the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Rajendra Pachauri.

Similarly, many top thinkers agree on the outcome needed from Copenhagen.

“The most critical issue concerns the level of commitment from some industrialised countries [..]”, said Steve Sawyer from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). “The second part is an action plan for adapting to climate change, in particular to support the Least Developed Countries who are feeling the effects of climate change first, and worst.”

“Without Europe and the industralised countries making the first step and saying these are the targets to reduce emissions and this is the money to support others to do a similar thing, it’s not going to happen”, agreed Frauke Thies from Greenpeace.

The EU has now agreed to cut emissions by 80-95% by 2050 compared with 1990 levels. It remains to be seen whether other countries make similarly ambitious commitments, and whether the right amount of money is pledged to less developed nations, by 19 December, when the conference draws to a close. Or those disaster scenarios may just move a big step closer to us.

The latest issue of Wind Directions, which focuses on wind energy post-2020, includes the full interviews with Sawyer and Thies, as well as a detailed exploration of different climate scenarios for the future.

Read Wind Directions now.

By Sarah Azau

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