Low Carbon Global Economy

The United Kingdom's Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy recognizes a fierce debate still rages over global warming. But Lord Peter Truscott says the UK is operating under the assumption that climate change, indeed, threatens energy security. Houston Public Radio's Ed Mayberry reports.

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Lord Peter Truscott told attendees at the Offshore Technology Conference that the world is going to need substantial new energy resources to prosper. Lord Truscott says he recognizes that there is still debate about the science of climate change, with some still questioning whether man is responsible for global warming.

"First, the British government has no doubt that man-made climate change is happening, and that it's potential to threaten all those things we hold dear--peace, prosperity, a clean environment, even the planet as we know it--is clear and is growing. In our view, the question has moved on from whether it is happening to how best to tackle it. Second, I'm not a scientist by training. Neither is Tony Blair. But when the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change--and other university-recognized authority--speaks, we listen."

Lord Truscott says a rapid transition to a low carbon global economy is the best way to ensure security and prosperity while meeting increasing energy demands.

"Those who disagree with us often point to a conflict between economic growth and strong action on climate change. We would reject this by saying the best thing to do from an economic viewpoint is to move towards a low carbon economy. Both because it reduces the threat from climate change and because of the huge business opportunities it opens up."

Lord Truscott says large corporations are already acting on the assumption that a low carbon economy is the way of the future.

"The formation of the Climate Action Partnership by ten major U.S. companies including DuPont and General Electric; the very recent call by ConocoPhillips--one of Houston's own--echoing similar calls made by BP and Shell for a mandatory regime in the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; the initiatives in California and the northeast states of the U.S. to set targets to cut carbon emissions; and the announcement just last week by Mayor Bloomberg to introduce a congestion charge on cars as a means of tackling climate change."

Lord Truscott says the oil and gas industry can adapt and broaden its business while meeting the challenges of climate change and energy security. OTC is underway through Thursday at Reliant Center, with some 60,000 attendees in the fields of drilling, exploration, production and environmental protection. Ed Mayberry, Houston Public Radio News.

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