16.10.06

Greenhouse Gases Are Expensive

What's more costly implementing energy reduction, reuse, and recycling solutions, or the cost of environmental decline? If this study is true, there's a strong argument for greening up an act--that even those focused primarily on economic growth will find efficient.

According to a Tufts study at the Global Development and Environment Institute,

[I]f nothing is done to restrain greenhouse gas emissions, annual economic damages could reach US$20 trillion by 2100 (expressed in U.S. dollars at 2002 prices), or 6 to 8 percent of global economic output at that time (Kemfert 2005).

The same study found that immediate adoption of active climate protection policies could limit the temperature increase to 2° and eliminate more than half of the damages…If, however, climate protection efforts do not begin until 2025, the same model estimates that it will be impossible to limit warming to 2° by 2100 — and climate protection in general will be more expensive, the later it starts.
[Emphasis added by Think Progress.]

2 Comments:

JoeDuck said...

Good post - thanks for the link. I'm wondering if this study started out with the conclusion, but need to read further. I've yet to read a reasoned counterpoint to Bjorn Lomborg's suggestions that reducing global poverty, not global warming, is *by far* the most effective way to help humanity given the jaw dropping amounts of money involved in climate change.

playfulmind said...

That's an interesting consideration, quite a big one. This study is limited just to the costs of climate change damage. I think measuring the 'economic value' of reducing global poverty (by x percent), unfortunately, would be even messier to quantify. But, that would certainly be an interesting comparison.

Also, there are projects proposing solutions that move both these goals forward; it's not necessarily a zero-sum choice. For example, thinking of the environmental broadly, efforts to clean and protect water sources in third-world countries comes to mind.