Cement, steel, plastics, shipping, aviation and heavy road transport are responsible for a third of all carbon emissions
Six major elements of the world economy are responsible for a third of all carbon emissions.
They are cement, steel, plastics, shipping, aviation and heavy road transport. The accepted wisdom is that it is too expensive and difficult to make them reduce the emissions from their smokestacks and exhaust pipes.
But this view has been turned on its head by wide-ranging research by the Energy Transitions Commission, a group of planners, corporations and government advisers who decide where money should be invested to shape the future.
Based in London, the commission was founded by Shell and McKinsey, which courted a great deal of controversy. But what it says carries a great deal of weight and about 200 people contributed to its late-November report, Mission Possible: Reaching Net-zero Carbon Emissions from Harder-to-abate Sectors by Mid-century.
It charts how the six sectors could reduce their carbon emissions to zero and calculates how much this will cost.
In the cement industry, for example, this could be done at the cost of 6% extra per house. But the return on this cost will be houses that use less electricity and are nicer to live in. Think winters without blankets and summers without air conditioning.
South Africa’s carbon tax is an example of how this could work. Starting in mid-2019, companies will have to pay up to R120 a tonne of carbon they produce. The tax will make it more expensive for companies that do not lower their emissions but it also gives tax breaks to companies that change.
Point is changes can be made that will have benefits not only to the environment but also to our own health.
|Mission possible: Polluters can change
A new report shows that the world’s biggest emitters of carbon dioxide could stop — and cheaply too