Professor Leemans about the need for a sustainable energy future

Published on
June 27, 2013

This week the negotiations on a new energy strategy for the Netherlands should be agreed upon by the Dutch government, private sector, environmental and civil organisations, and labour unions. The negotiations are coordinated by the Dutch Social-Economic Council (SER). To stress the importance of making a transition toward a sustainable energy future, Greenpeace organized a series of public lectures outside the SER-building in The Hague.

Professor Leemans (ESA & ESS, Wageningen University) lectured on the latest insight in CO2-emissions and the global carbon cycle. He stressed that, in order to keep temperature increase below the internationally agreed 2 degrees Celsius policy target, global anthropogenic emissions have to peak before 2020 and then reduced by at least three per cent annually.

In his lecture he showed that this emission reduction pathway was not just a policy choice, but dictated by the properties of the global carbon cycle. Input into the atmosphere should equal the uptake on land by trees and in the oceans. Afforestation helps but is not the panacea. Emission reductions can only be successful if fossil fuel use is strongly reduced and becomes extremely efficient. Eventually, the oceans will absorb all the emitted CO2 but this will take thousands of years. Waiting for this to happen is not an option.

More information: website Greenpeace (in Dutch).