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COMMENT: University of Reading experts back the latest UN climate change report call to cut carbon emissions – University of Reading

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COMMENT: University of Reading experts back the latest UN climate change report call to cut carbon emissions

Release Date 14 April 2014

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published a major report on options for preventing climate change and cutting carbon emissions - the third part of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report.

The Mitigation of Climate Change report assesses the options facing governments, businesses and societies - laying out the risks, ethical, technological, economic and institutional requirements.

Leading scientists and academics from the University of Reading have been involved throughout the IPCC process.

Dr Chuks Okereke is an expert in climate and development at the University of Reading, is a lead author for the IPCC Mitigation of Climate Change chapter on equity and sustainable development. He was interviewed by BBC News about his call for the West's moral duty to give financial and technological support to build low-carbon economies in the developing world

He said:

"Developing world countries justifiably want rapid growth to raise living standards, but they also have the most to lose from climate change.

"Britain and other western nations were powered by fossil fuels, burning their way to wealth. Unless the developing world takes a different, more sustainable path, governments could be forgiven for following what looks like a tried and tested route to riches. Developing countries need greater financial and technological support from the developed world to achieve sustainable development. This is the elephant in the room of climate mitigation and adaptation policy.

"The choice is stark. The developed world can share more technology and resources to secure sustainable future growth for all. If it fails, either billions of people will be condemned to a future of poverty, or the world will find itself hurtling towards ever-higher greenhouse gas emissions, leading to climate change on a scale to which humanity will struggle to adapt."

Professor Tim Dixon, is Professor of Sustainable Futures in the Built Environment at the University of Reading. He was interviewed by BBC News Online about his work on the Retrofit 2050 project to radically change current knowledge and capacity in urban design.

He said:

"Cities are the cause of much global warming, but they could also be part of the cure. Cities are already pretty efficient in terms of their emissions per person, and economies of scale make it worthwhile to deploy new technologies, but much more needs to be done. The technology to make urban living more sustainable already exists, but we need to change our course quickly if we are to avoid costly mistakes in the built environment which become ‘locked-in' and difficult to fix.

"There is very little time to enact change. Our cities need clear plans and visions, they need access to finance, and they need strong long-term political leadership, right now.

"In the UK, current efforts to reduce the environmental impact of our towns and cities are woefully inadequate. Only a handful of major cities have serious plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The government's flagship scheme to retrofit our ageing housing stock with more efficient technology, the Green Deal, has so far been a miserable failure.

"If we're serious about making our towns and cities fit for the future, we need a fundamental rethink of urban space no less radical than that of the Victorians, who laid out much of our inherited infrastructure and buildings."




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