The world may have to resort to technology that sucks greenhouse gases from the air to stave off the worst effects of global warming, the UN climate change chief has said before talks on the issue beginning on Monday.
“We are putting ourselves in a scenario where we will have to develop more powerful technologies to capture emissions out of the atmosphere,” said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN framework convention on climate change. “We are getting into very risky territory,” she said, stressing that time was running out.
The UN climate talks starting on Mondayin Bonn, which run for the next two weeks, will try to revive the negotiations before the next climate conference, taking place in Durban, South Africa, in December. But little progress is expected, as the negotiating time is likely to be taken up with details such as rules on monitoring emissions.
Figueres tried to inject a greater sense of urgency into the proceedings by pointing to research from the International Energy Agency that found that emissions had soared last year by a record amount. The strong rise means it will take more effort by governments to curb emissions.
Figueres told the Guardian in an interview that governments should act now to save money: “We add $1tn to the cost [of tackling climate change] with every year of delay.”