OSLO, (Reuters) – The world will need sweeping
changes over the next 20 years ranging from energy use to food
production to achieve climate goals set by almost 200 nations,
the new heads of a top environmental think-tank said on Friday.
Both said “revolutions” were needed to tackle climate
change, such as capturing greenhouse gas emissions from power
plants that burn fossil fuels or by reforming agriculture, where
meat production and fertilisers are big sources of greenhouse
Developed nations should set an example, such as Germany
of coal in power generation.
“When Germany is not in a position to phase out coal can we
expect that Poland or Indonesia or Vietnam or Turkey … can
phase out coal?” Ottmar Edenhofer, new co-director of the
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told Reuters.
Edenhofer, formerly the institute’s chief economist, and new
co-director Johan Rockstrom, a Swedish scientist, said
governments were far from achieving the core goal in the 2015
Paris Agreement of limiting a rise in global average
temperatures to “well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6
Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.
“We have just literally 20 years to either succeed or fail”
in the goals of getting the planet on a more sustainable path,
Rockstrom said in a joint telephone interview.
The University of Pennsylvania rated the Potsdam Institute
as the world’s top environment policy think-tank this month.
The institute plans to exploit more data to try to grasp
under-appreciated long-term harm from natural disasters linked
Poor families in developing nations often focus, for
instance, on rebuilding their homes after a natural disaster but
sometimes stopped sending their children to school even after
reconstruction, Edenhofer said.
The institute could use more satellite data, for instance
the amount of light emitted at night by villages in developing
nations, as a gauge of local poverty and vulnerability, he said.
The poorest have the least access to electricity.
Rockstrom and Edenhofer were named by the institute on
Friday to succeed Hans Joachim Schellnhuber in October.