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Global Apollo Programme to Tackle Climate Change

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World Cement,

A new report proposes a ‘Global Apollo Programme to Tackle Climate Change’, calling for an international effort to make renewables less costly than coal within 10 years.

Lord Richard Layard and Lord Nicholas Stern, both of the London School of Economics, are among a group proposing an internationally coordinated research programme in order to meet the 2°C global warming limit.

The report says: “In the Cold War the Apollo Programme placed a man on the moon. This programme engaged many of the best minds in America. Today we need a global Apollo programme to tackle climate change; but this time the effort needs to be international. We need a major international scientific and technological effort, funded by both public and private money.”

The report goes on to point out that on 2% of global R&D is directed towards finding a source of clean energy that is cheaper than fossil fuels. “In the past, when our way of life has been threatened, governments have mounted major scientific programmes,” the report notes, adding that current spending is not commensurate with the gravity of the threat, and nor is it coordinated. Only US$6 billion a year is currently spent on research and development of renewables, while annual subsidies to fossil fuel industries amount to some US$550 billion.

The report proposes that countries joining the programme would commit to spending at least 0.02% of GDP on this internationally coordinated programme of research each year over a 10-year period. The research will address electricity storage, smart grids and renewables (wind and solar electricity). The international efforts will be coordinated by a Roadmap Committee, which it is hoped will be co-located with the International Energy Agency in Paris.

The Global Apollo Programme has been privately discussed with governments worldwide, including those of the G7 countries, China, Korea and India, and has received strong expressions of support. It is hoped that the key countries will join the consortium by the end of this year.

The authors of the Global Apollo Programme are Sir David King (former UK Government Chief Scientist), Lord John Browne (former Chief Executive of BP), Lord Gus O’Donnell (former UK Cabinet Secretary), Lord Nicholas Stern (author of the Stern Report), Lord Adair Turner (former Chairman of the UK Committee on Climate Change), Lord Martin Rees (Astronomer Royal) and Lord Richard Layard (LSE economist).

Adapted from press release by

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