Cost of fighting warming 'modest,' says UN panel

Apr 13, 2014 by Karl Ritter
Ramon Pichs Madruga, Co-Chairman of the IPCC Working Group III, Ottmar Edenhofer, Co-Chairman of the IPCC Working Group III, and Rejendra K. Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC, from left, pose prior to a press conference as part of a meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, April 13, 2014. The panel met from April 7, 2014 until April 12, 2014 in the German capital. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

The cost of keeping global warming in check is "relatively modest," but only if the world acts quickly to reverse the buildup of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, the head of the U.N.'s expert panel on climate change said Sunday.

Such gases, mainly CO2 from the burning of , rose on average by 2.2 percent a year in 2000-2010, driven by the use of coal in the power sector, officials said as they launched the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change's report on measures to fight .

Without additional measures to contain emissions, global temperatures will rise about 3 degrees to 4 degrees Celsuis (5 degrees to 7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 compared to current levels, the panel said.

"The longer we delay the higher would be the cost," IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri told The Associated Press after the panel's weeklong session in Berlin. "But despite that, the point I'm making is that even now, the cost is not something that's going to bring about a major disruption of economic systems. It's well within our reach."

The IPCC, an international body assessing climate science, projected that shifting the energy system from fossil fuels to zero- or low-carbon sources including wind and solar power would reduce consumption growth by about 0.06 percentage points per year, adding that that didn't take into account the economic benefits of reduced . "The loss in consumption is relatively modest," Pachauri said.

The IPCC said the shift would entail a near-quadrupling of low-carbon energy—which in the panel's projections included renewable sources as well as nuclear power and fossil fuel-fired plants equipped with technologies to capture some of the emissions.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called it a global economic opportunity.

"So many of the technologies that will help us fight climate change are far cheaper, more readily available, and better performing than they were when the last IPCC assessment was released less than a decade ago," Kerry said.

The IPCC said large changes in investments would be required. Fossil fuel investments in the power sector would drop by about $30 billion annually while investments in low-carbon sources would grow by $147 billion. Meanwhile, annual investments in energy efficiency in transport, buildings and industry sectors would grow by $336 billion.

Cost of fighting warming 'modest,' says UN panel
Rejendra K. Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC, from left, poses prior to a press conference as part of a meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, April 13, 2014. The panel met from April 7, 2014 until April 12, 2014 in the German capital. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

The message contrasted with oil and gas company Exxon Mobil's projection two weeks ago that the world's climate policies are "highly unlikely" to stop it from selling fossil fuels far into the future, saying they are critical to global development and economic growth.

Activists of the international environmentalist organization Greenpeace pose with posters in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, April 13, 2014, to support clean energy. After a one week meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Berlin the final document which is released on Sunday is expected to say that a global shift to renewable energy from fossil fuels like oil and coal are required to avoid potentially devastating sea level rise, flooding, droughts and other impacts of warming. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Coal emissions have declined in the U.S. as some power plants have switched to lower-priced natural gas but they are fueling economic growth in China and India.

The IPCC avoided singling out any countries or recommending how to share the costs of climate action in the report, the third of a four-part assessment on climate change.

Though it is a scientific body, its summaries outlining the main findings of the underlying reports need to be approved by governments. This brings a political dimension to the process.

In Berlin, a dispute erupted over whether to include charts that showed emissions from large developing countries are rising the fastest as they expand their economies. Developing countries said linking emissions to income growth would divert attention from the fact that historically, most emissions have come from the developed nations, which industrialized earlier.

"This is the first step for developed countries of avoiding responsibilities and saying all countries have to assume the responsibility for climate change," said Diego Pacheco, the head of Bolivia's delegation in Berlin.

In the end the charts were taken out of the summary, but would remain in the underlying report, which was to be published later in the week, officials said.

Counting all emissions since the industrial revolution in the 18th century, the U.S. is the top carbon polluter. China's current emissions are greater than those of the U.S. and rising quickly. China's historical emissions are expected to overtake those of the U.S. in the next decade.

The IPCC summary also refrained from detailed discussions on what level of financial transfers are needed to help developing countries shift to cleaner energy and adapt to climate change.

Another IPCC report, released last month, warned that flooding, droughts and other climate impacts could have devastating effects on economies, agriculture and human health, particularly in developing countries.

"The world's poorest nations are in need of economic development. But they need to be helped to leapfrog dirty energy and develop in a way which won't entrench their poverty by making climate change worse," said Mohamed Adow of charity group Christian Aid.

The IPCC reports provide the scientific basis for U.N. climate negotiations. Governments are supposed to adopt a new climate agreement next year that would rein in emissions after 2020.

The ambition of that process is to keep warming below 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 Fahrenheit) compared to today's levels. Global temperatures have already gone up 0.8 Celsuis (1.4 Fahrenheit) since the start of record-keeping in the 19th century.

The IPCC, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007, said the U.N. goal is still possible but would require cuts of 40 percent to 70 percent by 2050 and possibly the large-scale deployment of new technologies to suck CO2 out of the air and bury it deep underground.

"The IPCC is telling us in no uncertain terms that we are running out of time—but not out of solutions—if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change," said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Washington-based environmental group. "That requires decisive actions to curb carbon pollution—and an all-out race to embrace renewable sources of energy. History is calling."

Explore further: Climate panel says emissions rising, avoids blame

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User comments : 27

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Skepticus
5 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2014
Prevention is much less profitable than cure.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 13, 2014
It doesn't cost the UN anything.
It will cost those who create wealth much.
Shootist
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 13, 2014
It costs even less to gather reliable, long term (hundreds of years) data. When it has been warm enough for dairy farms to exist in Greenland for the better part of 400 years, then we might start thing about efforts to ameliorate the climate. Otherwise it is still too cold for dairy farms in Greenland (canary in the coal mine).
Shakescene21
1 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2014
I didn't see any Chinese members on the podium. China is the biggest and fastest-growing carbon emitter, and no agreement will work if China doesn't agree to it. So, has China supported this plan or is it DOA?
Sigh
5 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2014
"So many of the technologies that will help us fight climate change are far cheaper, more readily available, and better performing than they were when the last IPCC assessment was released less than a decade ago," Kerry said.

True, but this would be far more reassuring if politicians could be trusted to go by the evidence even when it is politically inconvenient. Kerry killed a reactor development programme that would help us now, even though it was more expensive to shut the programme down prematurely than to let it finish. Nuclear power was unpopular then. Tom Blees has the story in his book "Prescription for the Planet".
Sigh
5 / 5 (5) Apr 14, 2014
I didn't see any Chinese members on the podium. China is the biggest and fastest-growing carbon emitter, and no agreement will work if China doesn't agree to it. So, has China supported this plan or is it DOA?

I heard an interview on the radio, with an American who talked to the Chinese about the need to reduce carbon emissions. He was asked why China should reduce emissions when the current mess was primarily due to the historic emissions of the countries that industrialised early. Why shouldn't China get the same economic benefits of cheap coal power? "Fine, go ahead", he told them. "It will give the USA and Europe a head start in developing the relevant technology, and when China can no longer deny the need, you will have to buy from us."
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (5) Apr 14, 2014
Developing countries can benefit greatly from new technology, if they choose to do so.
They can build the latest and greatest instead of having to incrementally improve and retrofit existing systems.
vlaaing peerd
5 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2014
I didn't see any Chinese members on the podium. China is the biggest and fastest-growing carbon emitter, and no agreement will work if China doesn't agree to it. So, has China supported this plan or is it DOA?


some years ago it was the US who was unwilling to participate, now China. As Sigh already mentioned, developing countries are given a little more time. Apart from that, China is now carefully planning to reduce greenhouse gases by 40~45% at around 2020.

See: http://www.reuter...20140318
ScooterG
1 / 5 (9) Apr 14, 2014
AGW is fast-becoming the black hole of the financial world, where taxpayer money is sucked in with irresistible force, never to be seen again, and producing/solving nothing.

This black hole is centered over the USA.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (7) Apr 14, 2014
And the IPCC lies keep rolling out.
If you believe this one, then I got a bridge to sell you, at a modest price of course.
howhot2
5 / 5 (6) Apr 14, 2014
AGW is fast-becoming the black hole of the financial world, where taxpayer money is sucked in with irresistible force, never to be seen again, and producing/solving nothing.

This black hole is centered over the USA.

Another flatearther denier poping off. No if anything this will be a huge boom to nations as new energy systems are installed, developed, made, manufactured, built, tested and maintained. Massive roll outs are needed to replace the carbon industries and that will create jobs. It will create jobs not only building the green economy, but it will create jobs removing the old ones.

As much as you deniers and flatearthers hate the idea of being stupidly wrong, we have to work together to get this change done or seriously face a bleak future for every generation that follows us.
It's mankind on the line here.

Pejico
Apr 15, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Pejico
Apr 15, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
shavera
5 / 5 (3) Apr 15, 2014
hate to break it to you, but cold fusion is impossible. And fission plants have many of the same resource problems you list above. They require significant infrastructure costs as well. The question is whether we want to incur these costs now or pay more for them later.
Pejico
Apr 15, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Pejico
Apr 15, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Apr 15, 2014
"Because the U.N. agencies are bureaucracies, it is perhaps understandable that they should seek at all times to increase their own power and control over the world's people. But what is not understandable is when that quest turns into a campaign to keep the poor people of the world in poverty. "
"Poverty, in the sense of deprivation of basic goods and services, in very large part is a result of insufficient access to energy. "
"Without access to energy, people are trapped in local areas to lead a life of basic subsistence if not periodic hunger and starvation."
"Ghana is a good example. The country is a close U.S. ally which recently discovered natural gas and would like to use this resource to expand access and grow its industry. Yet current U.S. policy restricts our ability to assist them in building any new gas plants and many advocacy groups want to prevent Ghana from generating additional power via natural gas out of concern over potential greenhouse gas emissions"
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (6) Apr 15, 2014
"Meanwhile, the advocates of "climate justice" look to as their leaders the likes of Al Gore, who preach abstinence for others while living in multiple massive high-carbon-footprint mansions (http://www.snopes...home.asp ) (http://www.huffin...286.html ) and flying around the world on private jets.

It is time for the advocates of "climate justice" to recognize the immorality of their campaign to keep the poor poor. "
http://manhattanc...ss-world
vlaaing peerd
4 / 5 (4) Apr 16, 2014

This black hole is centered over the USA.


Not even speaking from a climate-supporting POV, your attitude is exactly what can bring down your country's economy. Renewable energies are a booming market, jump in or get left behind. I see great opportunities for American companies, you don't?

I really don't see the problem with replacing oil for a more 21st century solution, which on an extra plus side happens to be more environmentally friendly as well -> Win/win. You are literally being conservative.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Apr 16, 2014
Renewable energies are a booming market,

Propped up by plundering wealth from the rest of the economy.
There was once a booming tulip and housing market.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Apr 16, 2014
"To software executive Bob Hasulak, it seemed too good to be true: The state of Arizona would refund him an $18,000-plus tax credit on a brand-new SUV if he outfitted it with a second tank that burned cleaner fuel.

"Why wouldn't people do this?" said Hasulak, of Scottsdale. "They're paying for almost half your car."

Turns out, the deal was too good. A loophole in what was intended to be a $10 million program turned it into a $200 million debacle that, far from creating a sense of environmental goodwill in Arizona's smog-clogged capital, has backfired like the polluting cars the program was supposed to clean up. "
"We were potentially going to spend 10 percent of our budget on a program that has not reduced air pollution by even 1 percent." "
http://www.sfgate...0374.php
Sigh
5 / 5 (1) Apr 17, 2014
Most of indium is consumed with solar cell industry - but we have reserves of indium to the next fifteen years only.

Valid point, but there are some workarounds. Solar thermal doesn't need indium, and the generators need exactly the same resources as the generators driven by fission, coal or gas. I don't actually know why rare earth elements are only mentioned in connection with wind turbines. Are they just needed to make the generators small enough?
Without cold fusion and thorium fission we have no chance to change it at all.

Thorium fission would help, though there is a limit in that anything that produces neutrons (all fission and also Deuterium Tritium fusion) will embrittle the steel of the containment vessel. The steel alloys that are most resistant to neutron embrittlement need elements that are in short supply: http://phys.org/n...gy.html. Cold fusion doesn't seem to work.
Sigh
5 / 5 (1) Apr 17, 2014
There are some alternatives to the standard approaches to fusion of either electromagnetic confinement in a tokamak like at ITER, or inertial confinement like at NIF. Here are some links.
Focus Fusion: http://focusfusion.org/
Bussard Polywell http://www.emc2fusion.org/
This stuff is at least consistent with current understanding of physics, though if it were already clear that one of these approaches would be practical and economical, money would be pouring in and they wouldn't have to worry about funding. Support this getting enough funding to find out whether it could work, and you will have a lot more credibility than if you go on about cold fusion. One of these approaches may even support a fusion reaction that doesn't produce neutrons, and so has no problem with neutron embrittlement.
Sigh
5 / 5 (2) Apr 17, 2014
3 stars. I partly agree with this:
"Meanwhile, the advocates of "climate justice" look to as their leaders the likes of Al Gore, who preach abstinence for others while living in multiple massive high-carbon-footprint mansions
Gore is a hypocrite, but I have to shatter your illusions: Gore is not my leader. I take my lead from scientists, not from a populariser, especially not one who fails to act on his words. The three simplest things you can do to reduce your environmental impact are not to have a car, take the train rather than flying, and don't eat meat. I do them all. I doubt that will change you view of the scientific merit of climate science. But if your opinion can only be shifted one way, then you are looking for excuses, rather than evidence, and that would make you a hypocrite yourself.
Sigh
5 / 5 (1) Apr 17, 2014
It is time for the advocates of "climate justice" to recognize the immorality of their campaign to keep the poor poor.

I'll give you an analogy in terms you should understand. We could solve all problems of global poverty of we just handed out enough money. Massive deficit spending, perhaps on the scale of the Iraq war and the bank bailout, should do it, and should be sustainable for at least as long. Say a few years. By your own argument, it is immoral not to do this. But I am sure you will agree that just throwing money at the problem can't be sustained indefinitely. So perhaps what's immoral then is a short term solution that creates an even bigger long term problem. Could you agree with that?
The abuse of ecosystem services is deficit spending on a massive scale. Maintaining deliberate ignorance on that subject is also immoral. We have discussed this before, you have not offered a counterargument, yet you keep arguing for deficit spending. Where is the morality in that?
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Apr 17, 2014
Renewable energies are a booming market, jump in or get left behind.


I'll take the "get left behind" option thanks. If anyone thinks their country isn't going to be left in the economic dust using wind mills and solar panels as their primary source of power then they have been binge eating brownies from Colorado...
vlaaing peerd
5 / 5 (1) Apr 18, 2014
Renewable energies are a booming market,

Propped up by plundering wealth from the rest of the economy.
There was once a booming tulip and housing market.


ooh dear! before we know all the coal mines might go bankrupt. I see no need to preserve such things if time has made it obsolete.

btw, tulip-export still brings in some 5 billion a year over here, can't say it is really breaking us up.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Apr 18, 2014
We could solve all problems of global poverty of we just handed out enough money.

Another socialist fantasy.
Every time socialism fails, the excuse is the state didn't plunder enough wealth, or the leadership was too corrupt or ....
It's the same type of excuses given when GCM fail
Carl Popper was inspired by the excuses given by Marxists for their failures to develop his falsification definition of science.
Sigh
5 / 5 (2) Apr 18, 2014
We could solve all problems of global poverty of we just handed out enough money.

Another socialist fantasy.
Every time socialism fails, the excuse is the state didn't plunder enough wealth

Did you fail to read on, or is that a deliberately misleading selective quote? I made the point that this could only work in the very short term, and that the long-term failure is a problem shared with your defence of plundering the capacity of ecosystem services. To present the selected quote as if it were my proposed solution is at best amazingly poor reading comprehension. At worst, it is a straight lie. Or do you have any other explanation?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Apr 18, 2014
defence of plundering the capacity of ecosystem services.

This will only happen when there are no private property rights.
Why would the owners of private property want to destroy their property?
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Apr 18, 2014
Why would the owners of private property want to destroy their property?
@Rygg
surely you are not so stupid as to believe what you just wrote? its called being lazy! or ignorant? or some other comment?
http://photobucke.../?page=1

https://www.googl...tBb1kJZs

(or just Google Trashy yards junk images)
as you can see above, the average person simply does not care, or is not knowledgeable enough, or has no care enough, or has no desire/motivations/intelligence/whatever to protect their property without being forced to do so.

you must live in a protected subdivision or something...

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