Date
24 September 2017
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (center) and Rajendra Pachauri (second from right), chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, announce the results of the study in Copenhagen. Photo: Reuters
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (center) and Rajendra Pachauri (second from right), chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, announce the results of the study in Copenhagen. Photo: Reuters

Scientists: Cost of avoiding runaway climate change is low

Runaway climate change can be prevented without seriously denting global economic growth.

The optimistic outlook could be combined with cuts to greenhouse gas emissions to nearly zero by the end of this century, the Financial Times reported, citing a study by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Without such deep reductions, there is a danger that more frequent and intense extreme weather, along with rising sea levels and other impacts of a changing climate, will add costs that “cannot even be quantified”, said panel chairman, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri said.

Global temperatures have risen by nearly one degree Celsius since the industrial revolution and governments agreed in 2010 that warming should not exceed two degrees Celsius, a threshold scientists say is risky to breach.

It is possible to stick to this limit by introducing measures to cut emissions that only cause an average annual 0.06 percentage point cut in the rate of global consumption, a proxy of economic growth, according to the the study.

Still, that implies big demands on some nations, according to co-author Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer from Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

“That is an average figure. For some countries. this could be quite a huge challenge,” he said, pointing to big oil exporters such as Saudi Arabia and African countries planning to exploit their fossil fuel reserves.

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