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Science Panel: Inaction Will Mean Massive Increase in Global Warming Pollution

By NRDC (NRDC) - May 4, 2007

The Longer We Wait the More We Pay; Time to Adopt Clean Technologies is Now

WASHINGTON (May 4, 2007) — A scientific report released in Bangkok this morning paints a gloomy picture of ballooning global warming emissions over the next three decades if action isn’t taken soon. The document outlines solutions, many of which can be immediately implemented today to stop dangerous changes to our climate. The findings of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report confirm the need for immediate action to stop and reverse global warming.

“The longer we wait, the more we will pay to fix this problem. The solutions are here. What we need is the leadership to make it happen,” said Daniel Lashof, PhD, the science director of the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The cost of cleaner, more efficient energy technologies pales in comparison to the sweeping impacts on our health and our economy if we continue to do nothing.”

“The IPCC has now completed its triple crown,” Lashof added. “The world’s leading scientists have told us that heat-trapping pollution is causing global warming, that global warming threatens unprecedented disruption of our way of life, and now most importantly that we know how to solve the problem. There are simply no more excuses for denial and delay.”

Policy developments over recent months show growing momentum for action in the United States. Congressional leaders have committed to passing comprehensive legislation to cap and reduce global warming pollution, dozens of states and hundreds of cities are taking their own initiative to put solutions in place, and the Supreme Court recently ruled that EPA already has the authority to regulate global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act.

Today’s final installment of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report will give further impetus for action.

Key findings include:

Improving end-use energy efficiency can make a major contribution to reducing global warming pollution. According to the report, efficiency gains are often cheaper than increasing energy supply. For new and existing building alone, 30 percent of projected heat-trapping emissions could be reduced simply by improving energy efficiency, with cost-effective technologies available today.

Inaction will result in a rise in global heat-trapping gas emissions of 25-90 percent by 2030. Carbon dioxide emissions from energy use alone will grow 40-100 percent.

Renewable energy technologies already available today could feasibly supply 30-35 percent of total electricity supply by 2030. Renewable energy will also help increase energy security, create jobs, and improve air quality.