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Breaking the Climate Deadlock report on how world leaders can tackle climate change with technology

Date
06 July 2009

Tony Blair will today call for immediate action on energy efficiency and a definitive commitment to develop the next generation of the technological revolution needed to get the world started down the low-carbon path.

The 'Technology for a Low Carbon Future' report comes just days before President Obama chairs a meeting of the major economies to discuss progress towards a new global climate agreement at Copenhagen later this year.

The report finds that 70% of the reductions needed by 2020 can be achieved by investing in energy efficiency - lighting, vehicles, buildings and motors - and reducing deforestation. The report concludes that the strategy that should be adopted at the MEF and into Copenhagen should be to focus on existing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, along with efforts to halt deforestation, which can deliver major short-term cuts in emissions, while we invest in next generation technologies - carbon capture and storage, new approaches to nuclear and solar, and emerging biotech based solutions - that will drive down emissions through to the middle of the century.

Tony Blair said: "Just as investing in electrification, railways and the internet led to economic growth in the past, investing in clean energy can help reignite the global economy now."

The main report findings are:

  • Major emission reductions are achievable by 2020 if we focus action on certain key solutions now;
  • Fully 70% of the reductions needed by 2020 can be achieved by investing in energy efficiency - lighting, vehicles, buildings and motors - and reducing deforestation, the costs of which are manageable and generate positive returns;
  • Just seven known policies that are already being successfully implemented in different parts of the world can deliver these reductions: they just need scaling up;
  • We need to invest now in the development of those future technologies that will take time to mature, in particular carbon capture and storage (CCS), large scale solar and new generation nuclear, along with public infrastructure such as smart grids;
  • International cooperation spurred by an ambitious agreement in Copenhagen can rapidly bring costs down and accelerate scale up of both current and future technologies.

Tony Blair said: "This report shows how major reductions even by 2020 are achievable if we focus action on certain key technologies, deploy policies that have been proven to work, and invest now for the development of those future technologies that will take time to mature.

"And these technologies bring economic and social opportunities too. Just as investing in electrification, railways and the internet led to economic growth in the past, investing in clean energy can help reignite the global economy now.

"This report shows that the challenge of combating climate change remains formidable; but it is do-able. This is not mission impossible.

"On the contrary, with the necessary decisions now, there is a credible, practical realistic as we as radical way to act. We can set the world on a new path to a low carbon future; the Major Economies Forum is able to put in place a framework for a successful global accord in Copenhagen in December."

Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group, which works internationally with business leaders to accelerate a low carbon economy, said: "Many businesses are already leading the way by investing in innovative and exciting clean technologies - including solar power, electric vehicles and smart buildings - that cut emissions, help growth and create jobs. Politicians must now match this leadership by agreeing challenging targets that provide a clear framework for transformational investment in the low carbon economy."

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