Report: Advanced Technologies Will Cut Increase of GHG in APEC Countries, But Emissions Will Still Rise
|APEC members. Click to enlarge.|
Investment in cleaner, more advanced and energy efficient technologies could reduce the expected growth of greenhouse gas emissions in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region by about 49% relative to what would otherwise be the case by 2050, according to a new report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Research Economics (ABARE).
Under current policy, greenhouse gas emissions are projected to be about 130% higher in APEC economies by 2050 (48.2 Gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent) relative to 2004 levels (20.9 Gt CO2-eq), according to the report. In this business-as-usual scenario, energy consumption is projected to increase by about 139% from 5.8 gigatonnes of oil equivalent (Gtoe) in 2004 to 13.7 Gtoe in 2050.
However, even in this advanced technologies scenario, emissions in APEC are still projected to be 17% higher (at 24.4 Gt CO2-eq) than 2004 levels in 2050. The widespread diffusion of energy efficient and low emission technologies globally results in global emissions declining by 45% at 2050 compared with the increased emissions in the reference case, according to ABARE. Despite this large decline, global emissions are still projected to continue to rise in the enhanced technology scenario, increasing by 36% between 2004 and 2050.
This is a considerably higher outcome than the targets climate negotiators agreed to in Vienna last week. There, negotiators officially recognized the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) indication that global emissions of greenhouse gases need to peak in the next 10 to 15 years and then be reduced to very low levels, well below half of levels in 2000 by mid-century, if concentrations are to be stabilized at safe levels.
The Vienna group also officially recognized that avoiding the most catastrophic forecasts made by the IPCC, including very frequent and severe droughts and water-shortages in large parts of the world, would entail emission reductions in the range of 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020 by industrialized countries. (Earlier post.)
The IPCC suggests that an increase in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 from 2000 levels of between 10-60% (depending upon the scenario) could result in a global mean temperature increase of between 3.2-4.0°C this century. An increase of 2°C is considered the threshold to entering dangerous climate change.
With energy consumption in APEC economies projected to increase by 140 per cent, investment in technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is crucial. In order to achieve further reductions in emissions, governments may also choose to increase terrestrial sinks in forestry areas by fostering sustainable forest management and lowering the rate of deforestation. APEC economies in particular have a role to play here as they account for around 54 per cent of the global managed and natural forest area.—Phillip Glyde, ABARE Executive Director
If APEC were able to halve current deforestation rates in tropical Asian member economies over the period 2009–50 this would lead to an estimated 70 per cent fall in forestry related emissions in these economies at 2050 compared with what otherwise would be the case, according to the scenarios analysed in the report.
Further reductions in emissions may be possible with development and deployment of low and near zero emissions technologies beyond those analysed in the report, according to the authors. Further research and development in combination with appropriate policy approaches, including pervasive carbon pricing, could bring forward additional low and near zero emission technologies that would further reduce the link between economic growth and emissions.
APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) economies account for more than half of the world’s energy use, economic output and greenhouse gas emissions and more than a third of the world’s population. Australia Prime Minister John Howard released the report at the beginning of the 15th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting convening in Sydney.