Nick Molho, executive director, Aldersgate Group: “This report from the world’s leading climate scientists is clear that there are compelling environmental, economic and social benefits to limiting the increase in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees as envisaged in the Paris Agreement. Whilst achieving such a target will require challenging emission cuts across the economy, important progress has already been made and an increase in ambition would unlock a significant innovation and investment opportunity.
“With strengths in areas such as offshore wind and electric vehicle manufacturing, energy efficient building design and green financial and legal services, UK businesses have a strong basis from which to accelerate emission cuts and be at the forefront of the development of the new clean technologies and services which the world economy will increasingly demand.”
“Major economies now need to increase their existing emissions reduction pledges under the Paris Agreement and adopt net zero emissions targets …
“The government must now begin work towards legislating for such a target in the UK, by rapidly acting on its commitment to seek the Committee on Climate Change’s advice on how the UK can ensure its climate targets are aligned with the 1.5 degrees goal. Backed by detailed policies, such a target would accelerate investment in ultra-low emission goods, services and infrastructure and support the innovation needed to tackle emission cuts in more challenging sectors such as land management, agriculture, long-distance transport and heavy industry.”
Steve Waygood, chief responsible investment officer, Aviva Investors: “Keeping global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees will help safeguard our investment portfolios and protect our customers savings. The long term negative financial consequences of climate change are far, far greater than the short term financial risks of transitioning to the Paris Agreement. Today’s report reiterates the need for policymakers to accelerate action to reduce carbon emissions and meet the agreed aims of the Paris Agreement.”
Emma Pinchbeck, executive director, RenewableUK: “This report warns that the dangerous effects of climate change will hit us sooner than most people had thought, unless we take much faster, much deeper action to limit potentially devastating global temperature rises by slashing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
“The report also calls for annual investment of around $2.4 trillion in the global energy system between 2016 and 2035. This is a great economic opportunity for our country and for consumers. The success of renewable energy in the UK is the result of political leadership to encourage investment in technologies such as offshore wind, in which we lead the world. But we can’t rest on our laurels. As well as generating more clean electricity using cheap technologies like onshore wind, and fully commercialising our innovative wave and tidal industries, we need to see much greater progress on decarbonising the heat and transport sectors”.
Justin Bowden, national secretary, GMB : “The IPCC report published today is a wake-up call to all governments about the need to dramatically invest in our energy systems particularly on a large scale in the next 15 years if we are to meet our climate change commitments – as set out in the Paris Treaty.
“There are a range of solutions to help tackle climate change but they all require leadership and urgent public investment. At present too much is outsourced to free marketeering and is often in the ownership of foreign investors with little consideration of how the UK’s workers can and must benefit from this new industrial revolution.
“GMB is calling on the UK government to step up investment in hydrogen to decarbonise the UK gas network as a top priority…
“Meanwhile Britain still needs at least five new low carbon nuclear power stations if we are to meet our energy needs and reduce our dependency on foreign imports of power …
“If the Chancellor needs to rewrite his Budget to reflect our shared climate challenges and opportunities, then so be it.”
Dr Jenifer Baxter, head of engineering, Institution of Mechanical Engineers: “This report aims to create urgency in our response to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We have technological knowledge to dramatically reduce emissions, we now require the leadership to make tough decisions on regulations for energy efficiency and emissions that may not be politically popular.
“The IPCC’s target to generate 70-80% electricity from renewables is ambitious, but we have to look at the broader picture and focus on reducing the carbon intensity of the whole electricity system. Currently renewables are backed up by gas when they are not generating and in the UK, gas is backed up by coal. Carbon capture and storage may help to some extent, but this infrastructure runs the risk of locking us into a fossil fuel-based system.
“We are not yet in the position to create enough long-term storage from environmentally friendly sources to fill the supply gap when renewables are not generating. We have very limited options for more hydro power in the UK, batteries do not yet provide the type of storage needed and other options like liquid air and hydrogen storage are still early in their development stages.
Another option to reduce the carbon intensity of the electricity system is to take a more certain approach to nuclear power by planning a long-term rolling programme of development that grows the supply chain and required skills, as well as reducing the overall costs of building new power stations.”
Tom Greatrex, chief executive, Nuclear Industry Association: “The report is clear that limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require rapid and substantial changes across energy, transport, industry, and beyond.
“It’s therefore vital we act now, as decisions made today on new energy infrastructure will be seen in our power mix for generations into the future. That is why most 1.5°C pathways show nuclear power increasing its share of generation in the mix, as a constant, reliable, clean generation source.
“With the vast majority of UK nuclear power plant due to come offline before 2030, there is an urgent need for new nuclear to be built to make up the shortfall, or we run the risk of having to revert to burning fossil fuels to power homes, businesses, public services and vehicles – which would have a devastating cumulative impact on the planet.”