O’Connor calls for climate accord on back of IPCC’s second segment of Fifth Assessment Report

“A clear global imperative for action” required on back of the second segment of IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report

Eddie O’Connor, the founder and CEO of the global energy company, Mainstream Renewable Power, commented on the publication today of the second part of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” (“the AR5”) [1]. This Report provides a definitive overview of the state of knowledge concerning climate-change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability.

“The AR5 is a clear wake-up call for policy makers. Compared to previous reports, the AR5 has assessed a much larger pool of relevant technical, scientific and related literature. Its clear and compelling conclusions provide overwhelming evidence of the devastating impacts that warming is already having and will continue to have on our lives.

“2013 was the sixth warmest year on record. Last year there were some 150 natural disasters around the world, including Typhoon Haiyan which killed 7,500 people, and the flooding in the Indian state of Uttarakhand which killed 6,000 people. In addition, there was significant flooding and other weather related damage in Europe, the USA and Canada. Surface air temperatures in Australia in the summer of 2012-2013 were the hottest since national records began in 1910. Estimated economic loss from all these events is around USD 140 billion. [2]

“Global warming is not something that will happen in some long distant future.  In the most likely scenario the world will breach the 2° temperature rise in 2036.[3] Most humans alive today will live with this horror.  Because of our continued addiction to fossil fuels we condemn ourselves to live in a new experiment for humanity.  About the outcome of this experiment, there is only one thing that can be said:  it won’t be pleasant for most of us and it could be terminal.

“There is no let-up in global warming, nor of its consequences. Our oceans and continents continue to trap heat, and over the last decade the planet has continued to warm at a rate of four Hiroshima bomb detonations worth of heat every second.[4] According to the AR5 this warming has already locked in a future sea level rise of 1.3 metres which will submerge at least 15% of Pacific islands and displace over one million people. How much does it cost to relocate one million people?  And who should pay for it?

“The AR5 calls the next three decades ‘the era of climate responsibility’ – a time during which we have an imperative to significantly reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases. That is why my company is investing around the world in new solar and wind power plant, to provide energy in ways that do not imperil the planet. For example, in South Africa this year we will build 360MW of new wind plant, enough to power some 300,000 homes, for less than the price of new coal generation and without the related emissions, pollution and water use.[5]

“The rapid fall in the cost of renewable energy technology, the ability to deploy it quickly and with minimal environmental impact means that the large majority of new power generation capacity added globally out to 2030 will be from renewables.[6] This is the contribution that we can make to mitigate the impact of emissions from the power sector.

“Not only are we investing in new clean power generation, we will be investing significant resources in making the case in the run up to COP 21 in Paris in 2015 for a comprehensive global accord that commits us to a once-off transition to sustainability which will limit the global temperature rise to 2oc.

“I see huge opportunities for entrepreneurs, policy makers and consumers across the world to work together to lift the shadow of the consequences of man-made global warming. Now we must work together to seize them.”


[1] Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

[6] Bloomberg New Energy Finance: “70% of new power generation capacity added between 2012 and 2030 will be from renewable technologies

Note to Editors:

Mainstream Renewable Power is one of the world’s leading independent developers of renewable energy projects. With a development pipeline of over 19GW globally it is currently constructing solar and wind farms across Ireland, South Africa, Chile and Canada.

As Europe’s leading independent offshore wind developer Mainstream is developing just under 8GW of offshore wind projects in England, Scotland and Germany with 4.45GW of secured grid connection for these offshore projects.

It employs more than 180 experienced staff across four continents with offices in Berlin, Cape Town, Chicago, Dublin, Glasgow, Johannesburg, London, Santiago and Toronto.

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