(Bloomberg) — The world needs to enforce regulations to
stem new coal supplies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that
threaten global warming, said Nicholas Stern, former World Bank
chief economist and adviser to Tony Blair’s government.
“There should be very strong regulation of coal around the
world to stop new coal,” Stern, chairman of the Grantham
Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, said
in London. “Without those policies and without public pressure
on reputation, I don’t think the incumbents will move anywhere
Stern on Monday joined with a group including John Browne,
former head of oil giant BP Plc, to spur governments to fund
efforts to make clean energy cheaper than coal. The 10-year
program, seeking $150 billion to meet its goals, would fund
research into renewables, power storage and smart grids.
Solar power costs have fallen more than 50 percent in five
years to about $136 a megawatt-hour on average, compared with
about $91 for coal, according to Bloomberg estimates. Onshore
wind is already cheaper at about $85.
Oil companies are switching toward producing natural gas
and promoting it as coal’s cleaner successor. “Total is gas,
and gas is good,” Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne said
Monday. “The enemy is coal.” Total began producing more gas
than oil in 2014, a year after Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
Stern called for businesses to lead by example, cleaning up
their supply operations and producing low-carbon products. “One
of the positive things I have seen in the past year or two is
the way the business community really has stepped up,” he said.
“They see the risks to themselves, they see the importance to
the monetary bottom line of acting responsibly.”
The flood of humanity that’s set to almost double city
populations by the middle of the century offers opportunities
for investment in low-carbon infrastructure, according to Stern.
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Tony Barrett, Will Kennedy