Megacity planning must change in four years to limit global warming
High-carbon infrastructures lock planet into irreversible greenhouse gas emissions, says campaign group
Tuesday 29 November 2016 10.18 GMT
By the end of this decade it may be too late to limit global warming to scientifically guided limits, if the infrastructure built in the next four years is constructed along the same lines as currently planned.
Building high-carbon infrastructure – from transport systems predicated on motor car use, to new coal-fired power plants, and buildings that leak energy – effectively “locks in” a future of greenhouse gas emissions that are likely to far exceed the planet’s capacity to absorb carbon.
Though such factors have been the subject of numerous scientific studies in the past decade, countries have been slow to take the implications on board.
The latest warning comes from the C40 group of mayors and city authorities that have signed up to their own limits on carbon and actions to combat climate change and reduce its impacts, often independently of their national or federal governments.
In a new report, entitled Deadline 2020, published on Tuesday and co-authored by the engineering firm Arup, they suggest that the next four years to the end of 2020 will be crucial in determining whether the world is able to limit warming to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels – as called for in the Paris agreement signed by world governments last year – or busts that goal, with unpredictable and potentially irreversible effects on climate change.