According to a recent UN report released this year, the world has to move away from carbon-intensive fuels to combat climate change – and fast. The 33-page study, released in Berlin, says a ‘massive shift’ to renewable energy is needed.

It describes how natural gas is seen as a key bridge to move energy production away from oil and coal.

Carbon emissions

The report was released by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was set up to provide a clear scientific view on climate change and its effects.

Carbon emissions are rising rapidly, with about half of all the carbon that humans have pumped into the atmosphere since 1750 being emitted in the last 40 years.

Global surface temperature set to increase

The report says that if no new action is taken, global surface temperature will increase by between 3.7C and 4.8C by 2100. Driven by rising populations and economic activity, this is well above the two degree level at which considerable climate change effects will be felt.

To stay below the 2 degree target, emissions in 2050 need to be 40-70% lower than they were in 2010. Investment in renewables and other low carbon sources needs to be trebled by 2050 to avoid the worst of global warming.

The situation is not irreversible

Lifestyle choices could reduce energy demands in buildings by up to 50% by 2050. Being aware of your energy usage could reduce your carbon footprint, and help to lower your business energy usage.

The report acknowledges the challenge of switching away from carbon-intense energy but renewables are becoming economically competitive with fossil fuels. They also offer a number of benefits including clean air and energy security.

Perhaps a sustainable energy future isn’t as far away as we sometimes think.

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