May 06, 2007

Paying It Forward The Evil Way

This is what you may want to keep in mind about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 3rd 2007 report on climate change, focusing on mitigation costs:

... For many delegates, the strongest message was that reaching the lowest targets could be done at less than 3 percent of the global gross domestic product by 2030 - or 0.12 annually.

That compares favorably to global economic growth that every year has averaged almost 3 percent since 2000. The damage from unabated climate change, meanwhile, might eventually cost the global economy between 5 percent and 20 percent of GDP every year, according to a British government report last year.

... The report follows two studies by the IPCC earlier this year warning that unabated greenhouse gas emissions could drive global temperatures up as much as 11 degrees by 2100, triggering a surge in ocean levels, destruction of vast numbers of species, economic devastation in tropical zones and mass human migrations.

Even the most stringent efforts outlined in the report, however, would not prevent suffering. An increase in temperatures to 3.6 degrees could still subject up to 2 billion people to water shortages by 2050 and threaten extinction for 20 percent to 30 percent of the world's species, the IPCC said. ...

This is the administration's press briefing on the third IPCC report with a cast including Jim Connaughton, Chairman, White House Council On Environmental Quality:

... Q Thank you for doing this. At the risk of being a little presumptuous, I'm going to make this a two-part question. First, there - in the SPN you essentially have three different stabilization levels - the 590 to 710 PPM, the 535 to 590, and the 445 to 535, with a very large range in GDP reduction, depending on which one you choose. Which does the administration think is the most feasible one? Is there one that the administration thinks is unfeasible?

... Q So to follow up, you're saying that the 445 to 535, which specifically mentions a range of GDP reduction greater than 3 percent - that is what you're saying is something that it would cause a global recession and something we'd probably avoid - that scenario with the 445 to 535 stabilization level?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: That's an accurate description of that scenario. Again, I want to differentiate between what is happening, what will happen and these various scenarios for what might happen. And certainly there is no leader in the world that is going to be pursuing a strategy that would drive their economies into a deep recession. I think the leaders of the world are focused on strategies that grow economies, that pay for these technologies that make the solution possible.

Q I guess I'm just trying to translate that. In other words, you're not aiming for that 445 level there - you're more aiming toward the other level?

MODERATOR: We'll take another question at this point. Thank you so much. Next question, please. ...

They'd like to prevent 5-20% losses in world GDP in the future, but it's too expensive at the moment. Sorry. Meanwhile, in Germany:

... Gabriel reminded the MPs that Germany needs to improve its energy efficiency by three percent per year in order to meet the EU target of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 20 percent below 1990-levels by 2020.

But the Environment Minister went further, proposing an eight-point plan that includes cutting Germany's CO2 emissions by 40 percent within 13 years. Gabriel said he wanted to enlist industry's help in pursuing this ambitious goal.

... A German economic think-tank recently calculated that the consequences of unfettered cliamte change would cost Germany more than 130 billion euros by the middle of the century. Compared to this sum, Gabriel's request for an additional three billion euros seems like a negligable investment in the future. ...

Those crazy Old Europeans, thinking they can pay now to avoid paying more later. What do they know?

Posted by natasha at May 6, 2007 07:04 PM | Environment | Technorati links |