The planet is facing a huge threat from climate disruption, the World Resources Institute has warned.
Key points:Australia and China have the world’s biggest carbon emissions, with a quarter of world output in Australia and 20% in ChinaSource: WRIA pollWorld leaders have agreed that the world needs to move to a 100% renewable energy future by 2050, and a rapid transition to 100% green economy by 2050The global emissions are at a “tipping point”, and need urgent action to avert a devastating effect, WRI saidIt said the world needed to get on board with a “sustainable transition to clean energy” and to ensure the world meets its environmental goals.
Key findings:Australia’s carbon emissions have more than doubled since 2000, and China is set to overtake Australia as the world leader in CO2 emissions by 2050.
Key attributes:Australia has the world is biggest carbon emitter, with more than half its emissions coming from coal, oil and gas.
China is the world largest coal and oil producer, with its output accounting for about half the world economy, with half the coal emissions coming in the form of coal-fired power plants.
China has the second-highest carbon emissions per person per year, and the world will have to move quickly to avoid the worst effects of climate disruption.
It is not clear how quickly the world can meet its 2020 emissions targets if they are not met, WriA said.
The world has to get back to the 100% clean energy economy by the end of the century, and to achieve it, it needs a rapid shift to a “green economy” to avoid catastrophic climate change impacts, the report said.
It said governments, businesses and civil society must ensure that the economy is resilient to a changing climate, and it needs to invest in the clean energy sector.
“The best way to tackle the climate challenge is to make the world a more sustainable place to live, work, and play,” said WRI’s global environment director, Kate Young.
“We have to make our cities, our industries, our infrastructure work better, more efficiently, and more reliably, and we need to invest more in it.”
What is a ‘green economy’?
The green economy is defined as a system in which goods and services are produced with renewable energy, such as solar panels, and made from renewable energy sources such as wind turbines, geothermal and biomass.
In Australia, this is the “green tech” sector.
The sector accounts for around 30% of the country’s carbon footprint, and is the fastest-growing sector of the economy.
China, on the other hand, is the largest green tech sector in the world, accounting for more than 50% of its emissions.
China produces more coal than any other country, and its emissions from coal are among the highest in the developed world.
However, China has taken some steps to reduce its carbon emissions and, as a result, it is the most efficient in terms of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.WRI said it was “critical” to make sure governments, companies and civil servants acted responsibly in making decisions on climate change.
“This includes prioritising clean energy and carbon capture, which means that all emissions must be phased out in their entirety in order to ensure that global warming is not a problem for the planet,” WRI secretary general, Michael Brune, said.
“Governments, companies, and civil-society must do more to make these investments now to avoid damaging long-term climate impacts and avoid catastrophic impacts on the planet and human health and wellbeing.”