The global community needs a technological revolution to mitigate and adapt to climate change, say Rosina Bierbaum and Robert Zoellick in an editorial in Science.
We have little time left to limit temperature increases to within tolerable limits. Developed countries, responsible for most historical emissions, must lead emissions reductions and finance mitigation and adaptation.
But most future emissions will come from the developing world, where 1.6 billion people lack access to electricity or low-carbon alternatives.
Changing the world's energy systems requires unprecedented ingenuity and cooperation, say the authors. The developing world needs investment and technology if they are to reduce energy emissions without jeopardizing economic growth.
Innovative public and private sector funding is critical. The World Bank has established several financing mechanisms, including the Clean Technology Fund, to support loans and grants for renewable energy and energy efficiency. A solar thermal hybrid project in Egypt and a pilot BioCarbon Fund in Madagascar have been funded so far.
Building the capacity of public and private sectors to provide innovative education programmes, market solutions and management practices is also needed.
A 'climate smart' world is possible, say the authors, but only if we act collectively and immediately.