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CLIMATE CHANGE:

THE COST OF REFORM


The blunt reality is that nobody really knows the true cost of reform but the odds are it will be severe.  A very serious problem in our view is that current technologies for carbon capture are not proven and cannot be proven for large scale use without years of tests.  If carbon capture does not work and the odds are it will not, then a vast part of the world's coal fired power plants are going to have be replaced or converted.  This is going to be a huge cost and carbon capture is not likely to be cheap either.

China is building two new coal fired plants a week and current projections show coal, the worst fuel, rising in share in the future - not declining.

Happy chatter about "green jobs" and a painless transition to a green future is not helpful.

See below for a collection of news reports on what needs to be done and the cost thereof.


FINANCIAL COST

There is virtually zero sign that anything close to these sums is being appropriated.

The World Bank says rich countries will need to spend up to $700 billion per year to fight climate change. . Click here for press coverage (Al Jazeera, 09/15/2009).

The International Energy Agency released excerpts of its annual study, World Energy Outlook, stating that without the right policy implementations resulting from the the UNFCCC in Copenhagen the world is headed for disaster. It is talking about an annual cost of  $500 billion.  Click here for the IEA press release and here to download the WEO excerpt.

A recent review by the International Institute for Environment and Development found that the adaptation costs as estimated by the United Nations are much too low. Click here for the review, here for the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change publications and here for press coverage (Solve Climate, 08/28/2009).

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warns of "Climate Abyss." Read it here. (Deutsche Welle 9/03/2009)


COST OF AID FOR THE POOR

There is even less prospect of this money being produced.  Part of the problem is defining who is "poor".  China claims to be a "poor" country.

Two of the four largest carbon emitters are Indonesia and Brazil due to their destruction of their forests.

Below are estimates of needed aid to poor states for climate change reform.  However, the rich states are in the middle a huge financial crisis.  So where is the money coming from?

Nicholas Stern, the influential economist and former World Bank Chief Economist, who ultimately authored the Stern Report on the Economics of climate change, wrote that a total of $300 billion annually in aid will become necessary (Stern, The Global Deal, pp 178). Click here to view his book The Global Deal and here for the Amazon link. He recently said that 350 ppm is a more sensible target, one that would greatly increase increasing costs further. Click here for that statement (Earth Stream, 09/09/2009). Lord Stern chairs the Grantham Research Institute on climate change and the Environment at the London School of Economics.

"Global Sustainable New Deal" needed says UN's World Economic and Social Forum. Click here for more. (AFP 9/01/2009) Click here for access to ECOSOC.

On October 30th, 2009, the European Union reaches agreement on climate financing. A statement issued said that 100 billion or 22 to 50 billion per year will be needed until 2020.  It further said that 6 billion per year in the first three years should be funneled to developing countries immediately to get the process started. Those initial contributions should be made on voluntary basis. Click here to view a video of the statement and here to access the EU press pack on climate change which contains further information.

Europe increases potential offer of aid, CNN reports. Click here. (10/30/2009)

EU offers $22 billion per year in climate change aid to poor nations. Click here. (Associated Press, 09/10/2009)

Gordon Brown calls for $100 billion in climate change aid. Click here. (The Guardian, 06/26/2009)

China, India and South Africa request $200 billion. Click here. (Bloomberg, 04/28/2009)

Africa calls for solidarity on climate change aid. $65 billion per year are whats required, leader says. Click here. (Al Jazeera, 10/10/2009)

The World's richest nations have failed to live up to their promises so far. Click here. (Solve Climate, 09/24/2009)


Details

Indonesia third largest emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide, mainly due to deforestation. The United States emits 6005 metric tons, China 5017, Indonesia 3014, Brazil 2316, Russia 1745 and India 1577 (If all 27 EU were lumped together they would be ahead of Indonesia).Click here for more detail. (World Bank & Indonesian Government Report, May 2007)

First Copenhagen Climate Conference in March 2009 falls short of expectations. Read more here (The Guardian, 03/13/2009) and here (AP, 03/12/2009). 

Stern encourages vegetarianism. Meat responsible for 18% of world's emissions. Read more here (The Times, 10/27/2009).

China accuses the West of sabotaging climate talks. Western world reneges on emission cut promises from 40% down to 11%. Click here (The Guardian, 10/05/2009).

China's emissions are likely to double. Click here for press coverage (Der Spiegel, 6/03/2009).

India objects to firm limits on Carbon emission. Click here. (CNN 7/19/2009)

Chinese think tank projects failure to contain the world's rise in temperature. Click here. (Reuters, 9/16/2009)

Europe says U.S. effort on climate change too weak. Click here. (The Guardian, 09/15/2009)

The European Union passed a new Renewable Energy Directive, binding member states to the 20-20-20 targets (20% cut in emissions, 20% increase in renewable energy and 20% cut in energy consumption. Click here (BBC News, 1/21/2009) and here ( Reve, 10/06/2009) for more.

Climate change can no longer be stopped, Lovelock says. Read it here. (Alternet, 7/7/2009)


Related Links  

United Nations Framework Convention on climate change

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

United Nations Environment Programme