Paris, France, 30 November 2015 – Decoupling economic growth from escalating resource use should be an integral part of climate policy, according to a group of the world’s most renowned natural resources scientists.
As nations gathered at COP21 in Paris for their first day of deliberations to determine a new, global climate regime, the IRP said a “whole system perspective” was crucial when considering climate policy.
Releasing its Ten Messages on Climate Change today, the International Resource Panel (IRP) said natural resource management and climate change were intrinsically linked, with a large part of global energy use, and therefore greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, tied directly to the acquisition, processing, transport, conversion, use and disposal of resources.
Raising resource productivity through improved efficiency and reducing resource waste could lower resource consumption and GHG emissions, bringing economic gains and promoting more equitable access to resources, the IRP said. Moreover, through decoupling, developing countries could cut the increase in annual energy demand by more than half over the next 12 years, while realizing their development goals.
“Policy changes aimed at mitigating GHG emissions affect not only the stability of the climate, but also other environmental aspects and resource use, positively or negatively,” the IRP co-chair, Janez Potoènik, said. “A whole system approach that connects production, consumption and their impacts on the environment and resources helps prevent adverse unintended consequences of GHG emission mitigation”.
This argument is further underpinned by the new IRP report, Green Energy Choices: the Benefits, Risks and Trade-offs of Low-Carbon Technologies for Electricity Production, also released today. This assesses nine low-carbon energy technologies, which will be essential for meeting 2°C objective and growing energy demand.