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Climate Change Demands Action Now, Shell’s Chief Executive Says

Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s chief said the implementation of climate change agreements made at Cancun last month “won’t happen overnight”, and policymakers must take action now “because the clock is ticking.”

“In the short term, we should focus on areas where we can get the cheapest and quickest carbon dioxide reductions,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser said at a renewable energy conference in Abu Dhabi today. “It will take a while for international standards to be implemented, but we are of the opinion that we have to move now.”

Voser offered four ways for policymakers to begin reducing CO2 emissions: energy efficiency, increased use of natural gas, carbon capture and storage projects, and biofuels.

Energy efficiency, such as fuel-efficient vehicles and insulation of buildings, will need government mandates and regulation, he said.

Increased use of natural gas, which would cut emissions by 60-70 percent if it was used in place of coal, will also require government policy to support the switch in fuel type. China has already pledged to obtain 8 percent of its energy consumption from gas by 2020, compared with 4 percent now, he said.

“There’s a revolution in the U.S. now, and also in China with unconventional gas,” Voser said. “So there is ample gas available, and it is cheaper than nuclear power, so it is clearly something in which we can invest.”

Carbon capture and storage projects are yet to be deployed in a big way, and pilot projects require government funding to drive the technology.

Biofuels offer “the only fast transport fuel option” and can be developed in a sustainable way if the correct standards are set, Voser said.

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