Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Required Climate Investments and Impact on Growth According the IPCC Synthesis Report

Massive investment is required for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Here is a summary of needed investments and their impact on growth from the IPCC's recently released Synthesis Report.

Concern about the impact on growth is one of the primary reasons why some resist mitigation efforts. However, the Synthesis report says that the impact of climate investment on global economic growth would be negligible. Such investment would not impede growth which is expected to be between1.6 per cent to 3 percent per year until the dawn of the next century.

If we were to enact ambitious mitigation efforts it would reduce consumption by a bit more than half a percent (0.06 percent). The economic estimates in the Synthesis report do not account for the benefits of reduced climate change, nor do they account for the numerous benefits associated with human health, livelihoods, and development.

We must keep carbon levels below 530 ppm if we are to keep temperatures under the internationally agreed upon upper threshold limit of 2 degrees C. The only way that this will happen is if we substantially reduce fossil fuel investments and radically increase investments in renewable energy and efficiency.

To succeed in keeping climate change withing acceptable limits, the government and the private sector must work together on financing mitigation and adaptation.

Here are three key economic targets:

1. $30 billion/year decline in fossil fuel investment,

2. $147 billion/year increase in low-carbon energy investment, and

3. $100 billion/year increase in energy efficiency investments.

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