The UN’s climate panel says that we can still mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, and at little cost
While the world might sometimes seem to be on an accelerating path towards dangerous climate change, there is still time enough to avoid the most catastrophic impacts, and at minimal disruption to the world economy, according to a new report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
For the first time, governments have a detailed roadmap for effective climate action – including a panoply of technological options along with their associated costs.
This new piece of work follows two earlier reports, the first released in Stockholm in September 2013, on the scientific basis for climate change concerns, and the second in Yokohama in March 2014 about impacts, adaptations and vulnerabilities.
While the first two set out the problems, in its latest report the IPCC says that mitigation can be affordable. In fact, rather than killing off the economy, a shift towards renewable energy would trim just 0.06 of a percentage point from projected annual economic growth.
“There are some steps we can take to resolve this issue, and in that sense … there are huge technological challenges but also modest hope,” says German economist Ottmar Edenhofer, who headed the IPCC team that drafted the new report.
Cutting carbon emissions...