For the Earth to Remain Human-Habitable, Carbon Emissions Must Be Brought to "Near Zero" by 2100

#Environment

Thu, Apr 17th, 2014 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

United Nations' top experts have warned that carbon emissions must be brought to a "near zero" level by the end of the century, before a point-of-no-return is reached, if we want to keep things down to "a level people can live with."

That may be doable, but it will take "substantial investments" in everything from planting more trees to replacing fossil fuels with low-carbon power sources like solar, wind and nuclear energy, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced in its latest report.

"What this report clearly shows is that the challenges to resolve the global common problem are huge," said Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and one of the lead authors of Sunday's document. "But also this report shows that there are some steps to resolve this issue. I would say in that sense the report also outlines the challenges, but it provides hope -- modest hope."

Surprisingly, the U.N. suggested that fracking could be part of the solution to global warming, allowing humanity to wean itself of coal and oil as it shifts towards greener forms of energy.

Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the working group that drew up the report, said it was “quite clear” that shale gas — extracted through the controversial process of fracking — “can be very consistent with low carbon development and decarbonisation”.

The comments are likely to be seized upon by proponents of fracking in the UK, which is backed by Chancellor George Osborne but fiercely opposed by environmental groups who believe fossil fuels should be left in the ground in order to help combat climate change.

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