British scientists call for world Sunpower Program to combat climate change

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Two of the U.K.‘s most respected scientific advisers have urged governments around the world to work together on the creation of a Sunpower Program, with the intention of delivering solar electricity that is cheaper than fossil fuel-powered electricity by 2025.

Writing in British newspaper the Observer, the scientists – former government chief scientific adviser Sir David King, and economist Lord Richard Layard – suggest that all countries should be invited to participate in the development of techniques aimed at a solar share of 10% of the world’s total energy supply by 2025, rising to 25% by 2030.

Their proposal follows the damning evidence laid out in last week’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the effect man-made carbon emissions are likely to have on our climate. The report reiterated the widely held notion that humans must wean themselves off fossil fuel sooner rather than later in favour of clean and renewable alternatives.

While wind and nuclear power were cited as potential yet problematic solutions, the scientists see solar energy as the key source of renewable power able to meet the world’s energy needs in the future. "The sun sends energy to the earth equal to about 5,000 times our total energy needs," they wrote. "It is inconceivable that we cannot collect enough of this energy for our needs, at a reasonable cost."

To create a unified, global solution to solar energy, the scientists realize that better collaboration and understanding is required if solar power is to become a cheap and viable energy solution. Better storage and more efficient means of transmitting electricity from areas with high solar radiation and low land value to areas without such an abundance are the chief challenges, they claim.

The gathered scientists at last week’s IPCC meeting in Stockholm concluded that it is "95% certain" that human actions are responsible for climate change.

"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s many of the observed changes are unprecedented," said IPCC chair, Rajendra Pachauri. "The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentration of greenhouse gases have increased."