Lecture Kleinman Center Event

Effective Climate Action: The Case for Greenhouse Gas Neutrality

Speaker

Oliver Geden
Head of the EU/Europe Research Division, German Institute for International and Security Affairs

Moderator

Mark Hughes
Founding Faculty Director, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy

Location

Kleinman Center for Energy Policy
220 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 190104

Three years after the climate summit in Paris, the euphoria has largely evaporated. Although we agreed on targets holding the temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 °F), there has been little sign of additional ambition in climate change mitigation since. 

Event Summary

Three years after the climate summit in Paris, the euphoria has largely evaporated. Although we agreed on targets holding the temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 °F), there has been little sign of additional ambition in climate change mitigation since.

The gap between emissions pathways that would be compatible with temperature targets and real-world emissions trajectories is widening. One fundamental problem is the global nature of temperature targets, which are poorly suited for catalyzing concrete national action plans and not at all suited for measuring success.  In the future, climate policy should focus on the third and little-noticed Paris mitigation target: achieving net zero emissions, or greenhouse gas neutrality. Compared to temperature thresholds, targeting climate neutrality is much more precise, easier to evaluate, politically more viable, and ultimately more motivating. Since a zero-emissions goal directly tackles the actions perceived as problematic, it is much more effective in guiding policy than temperature goals. A net-zero emissions target shows policymakers, the media, and the public quite precisely what needs to be achieved. It also sends the message that we need to develop solutions in all sectors, including the hard-to-tackle sectors of aviation, steel, cement, or agriculture.

Join Oliver Geden, a lead author of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, in the Kleinman Center Energy Forum for an expert look at greenhouse gas neutrality.

View the Presentation

Effective Climate Action: The Case for Greenhouse Gas Neutrality

Oliver Geden


speaker

Oliver Geden

Head of Research, International and Security Affairs (SWP)
Oliver Geden is head of the EU/Europe Research Division at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs and a lead author of the Sixth IPCC Assessment Report. He was a visiting scholar at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy in 2018-2019.
moderator

Mark Hughes

Founding Faculty Director
Mark Alan Hughes leads the Kleinman Center as founding faculty director and publishes research on topics ranging from deep decarbonization to the future of Philadelphia’s energy landscape. He is also a professor of practice at the Weitzman School.