SPECIAL REPORT WEDGING THE GAP A bottom-up approach to the global climate challenge.
WEDGING THE GAP
A bottom-up approach to the global climate challenge. By: Foreward:
Weather records are piling up in the US and worldwide, and the seasonal state of the Arctic sea ice melt is the worst we’ve seen so far.
And in the meantime, greenhouse gas emissions are still rising, where they should be starting to go down now, if we are to keep average global warming below 2 degrees C, the internationally-agreed goal. If we carry on as we are, as-usual”, our emissions will grow by another 12% to reach 56 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent by 2020. Whereas to remain on track for that all-important 2 degrees C target, we actually need them to be 12 billion is known as the ‘emissions At the global Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, exactly 20
It is now within our reach to take global solar PV capacity to 1.6 Terawatts (1.6 million 2020, which will reduce emissions by 1.4 billion tonnes of CO2 per year.
years ago, countries agreed
on Climate Change.
Solar PV technology for example, is developing at an incredible pace, bringing down cost, and ramping up application by over 50% per year.
negotiations to really start reducing global emissions stretch. to a treaty that only takes 2020, leaving us with the existing country commitments for the period 2012-2020, closing just half of the gap, at the very best. Reducing emissions is feasible
It is now within our reach to take global solar PV capacity to 1.6 Terawatts 2020, which will reduce emissions by 1.4 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. Other technologies like vehicles and EV batteries, are developing quickly as well. cities, and individual citizens are taking climate action on their own, demonstrating that the
In any approach, real measures will be required if we are to bring about the emission reduction. There is ample realistic potential are real. to reduce emissions to close the emissions gap, and at Wedging the Gap least a third of that is in the Many measures have the potential for environmental that would go far beyond greenhouse gas emission
negotiations, countries are meant to agree on measures, then make sure that emitters in their countries comply with that agreed reduction.
the Wedging the Gap initiative:
Wedging the Gap consists of amplifying the actions of frontrunners in 21 types of activity by applying them on a large scale, under the .
Climate Strategy Unfortunately though, the negotiations have
We estimate the total emission reduction of the to be 10 billion tonnes of CO2equivalent per year, achievable by 2020.
will only accept limitations on my economy if I’m absolutely sure you will do the same for yours” scenarios. Thereby obscuring the fact that many emission reduction measures have As it became apparent in recent years that such a top-down approach alone would not work, a bottom-up approach was suggested, but so far, no concrete proposals for this on a global scale have been put forward Wedging the Gap is a bottom-up approach, building on all the rapid developments in technology and implementation and on the great initiatives in many places to bridge the global emissions gap. It consists of amplifying the actions of frontrunners in 21 types of activity by applying them on a large scale, under the leadership of organizations already
initiatives in a grand scheme with a major collective impact will serve as a catalyst for individual action. We have selected the 21 ‘wedges’ by applying the following criteria: Already moving: An
ongoing activity, starting from which major scaling up before 2020 is possible. Win-win: of greenhouse gas emissions. Leadership: There are organizations that can lead a global initiative. Impact: The initiative has the potential to reach an emission reduction in the order of 0.5 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent by 2020. Examples: Companies, wind energy and cities Worldwide, over 30 leading companies have entered into Climate Savers reducing their emissions business-as-usual. In doing so, many of them found out it’s easier than they thought, brings lower cost and less exposure to energy price risks, and helps build their reputation. Together, these companies reduced their CO2emissions by over 100 million tonnes over the past 12 years. A recent analysis by Ecofys has shown that taking this approach to major corporations in the 16 business sectors where the program is active could
reduce global emissions by 0.5-1.0 billion tonnes of CO2 per year by 2020. Many other companies are making similar pledges already; a perfect starting point for a ‘Companies wedge’!
Many cities have ambitious climate programs, combining the creation of new cleantech jobs with improvements in housing and infrastructure, lower energy cost, and better air quality.
programmes. Taking that into account, we estimate the total emission reduction be 10 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent per year, achievable by 2020! Adding up the climate
Wind energy has made big strides over the past
Organizations like C40 and
addressing classic air pollutants, including
year, 238 GW of installed capacity already provided 2-3% of the world’s electricity.
in C40, or an equivalent sample of other cities, reduce their emissions to 20% below businessas-usual by 2020, this would already result in an emission reduction of 0.7 billion tonnes of CO2equivalent.
areas, would bring us very close to what is needed to keep the world on track for an average global warming of 2 degrees C.
GWEC, the Global Wind Energy Council, has published an ‘advanced scenario’, showing that wind power capacity could grow to 1,070 GW (a
dependence on fossil fuels, improve air quality, and provide an additional emission reduction of 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2020, compared to the reference scenario.
Emissions reduction from the wedges adds up to 10 billion tonnes!
Reference: A paper on our approach has been published online
All wedges are shown in page. Of course, there will be some overlap: companies and cities may use wind turbines as part of their emission reduction
gas emissions gap http:// dx.doi.org/10.1038/ nclimate1602
Published on Jun 20, 2012