Emissions set to exceed tipping point

Mail and Guardian 22 June 2012.

The shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy has been too slow to keep global temperature increases within the threshold needed to avert serious disaster.

This is one of the main findings of the 12th PricewaterhouseCoopers Annual Power and Utilities Survey, which is based on the views of the top management of 72 power and utility companies around the world.

The global aim is to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, which are largely the result of burning fossil fuels, quickly enough so that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere peaks at 450 parts per million. This would limit the average global temperature increase to 2°C, a level at which changes could be managed.

But with electricity demand projected to increase from 17200 terawatt-hours in 2009 to 31 700TWh in 2035, this is unlikely…