Sir David King’s take on the implications of COP21

Climate disruption

Sir David King, UK Special Representative for Climate Change, spoke to the International Energy Authority this morning on what happens after COP21.

While recognising the large implementation challenges, as well as the huge risks of failing to contain warming, Sir David was very upbeat on the prospects for implementation. In particular he pointed to: 

  • The Forest Declaration: no further deforestation of natural forests after 2030 and significant (India-sized) re-forestation before then.
  • The expansion of carbon pricing: the European carbon market should be functioning properly by 2020; China will have a multi-regional carbon market by 2017; the two could link up to make a major international carbon market with a single carbon price.
  • Power Africa: a commitment to bring renewable powered electricity to 620m people by 2030 at about one third the cost of grid-based power.
  • Mission Innovation: an internationally funded project to double global energy R&D and de-risk energy innovation investments  for the private sector.
  • Bill Gates’s $20bn venture fund to finance the commercialisation of energy innovations.

His conclusion was that the fall in clean energy prices and the roll-out of renewables generating capacity will both be much quicker than people expect. This could be the biggest commercial opportunity of our time.

In passing, he also noted that the 1.5 degree target requires no net emissions by 2035 and so is highly challenging.

To see his presentation go to:


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