Monday, January 30, 2012

Can we afford to reduce GHG emissions?

For today's post I will simply highlight some of the messages of a major reference in terms of the Economics of Climate Change: the Stern Review, an independent review commissioned by the UK's government.

1 - The scientific evidence points to increasing risks of serious, irreversible impacts from climate change associated with business-as-usual paths for emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG)

The annual emissions of GHG are increasing as the demand for energy increases around the world. A concentration of 550ppm CO2e in the atmosphere could be reached as early as 2035. At this level there is a 77% to 99% chance of a global average temperature rise exceeding 2°C. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the GHG in the atmosphere by the end of the century could give a 50% risk of exceeding a 5°C global average temperature change. Such changes would transform the physical and human geography of the world.

2 – Mitigation is a highly productive investment
A strong mitigation policy to reduce GHG emissions can be achieved at a far lower cost than those calculated for the impacts of climate change. Mitigation must be viewed as an investment, a cost incurred now and in the coming few decades to avoid the risks of very severe consequences in the future.

So, to answer the title question... we'd better!


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