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More inconvenient truths

Christian Egenhofer from Brussels think tank The Centre for European Policy Studies looks into what it will take to stabilise CO2 concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere at 550 ppm – a “modest scenario”, as he says, which would mean accepting a raise of around 35% from present CO2 levels and a “managable” level of climate change .

Achieving this goal, Egenhofer argues, would require either:

  • twice as many nuclear power plants as operate currently, or
  • 40 times the wind power currently exploited, or
  • 700 as much solar power produced as is the case now.

Putting these figures into relation with the economic deveolpment in China and other parts of the world, Egenhofer derives seven “more inconvenient truths”:

  1. Industrialised countries have consumed the bulk of the global arbon budget
  2. The climate constrained world imposes real limits – developing countries will not accept uncompensated reductions
  3. Poverty eradication is the number one priority
  4. Industrialised countries will even need no-regret mitigation options in developing countries
  5. If industrialised countries reduce their emission by 80% by 2050, emissions are still a multiple on per capita metric
  6. The only real option until 2030 is to make best use of existing technologies universally
  7. Industrialised countries’ lifestyles are not sustainable – but nobody does anything about this

Christian Egenhofer’s speech (2.9 MB mp3) egenhofer.mp3

Christian Egenhofer’s PowerPoint presentation (280 kB pdf)

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