The scale of the task

The process of transitioning to a low carbon future will require a radical adjustment of our post-industrialised economic model.  It is essential that politicians, organisations and communities address the social, economic and political factors that are driving climate change. One of the primary purposes of The Low Carbon Strategy Network is to encourage members to engage with stakeholders, commercial partners and policy makers to influence our transition to a sustainable future.

The urgency of our current position should not be underestimated:

  1. The Paris conference on climate change (COP 21) achieved agreement to limit global warming to 2 degrees C. At current rates of green house gas emissions we are likely to pass this point within the next 15 years
  2. 190 countries were signatories to the Paris agreement and the participants set out (voluntary) targets for future green house gas emissions, (GHG).
  3. The total of these voluntary targets collectively exceed the required limit on GHG emissions and are projected to cause global temperatures to rise by 3-4 degrees C.
  4. If global temperatures pass a critical tipping point then non-human factors, (e.g. melting icecaps, release of methane from Siberian permafrost) will cause further rises in temperatures. Once past the tipping point human intervention will be unable to reverse the effect of global warming.
  5. The Paris conference accepted scientific evidence that the tipping could be triggered if we breach the 2 degree C limit – although there was concern from some areas of the scientific community that the 2 degree C limit was too high and that the tipping could be breached below 2 degree C
  6. If global temperatures breach the tipping point the consequences for human civilisation are catastrophic.

This summary suggests that at best, we have 15 years to reduce CO2 emissions to point which will prevent the proposed 2 degree C limit being breached. At worst, we could already be about to pass through a threshold limit, beyond which the future of the planet will be irreversibly damaged with disastrous consequences for human survival.