Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Avoiding climate change disaster is affordable, says PricewaterhouseCoopers

Guardian (UK): Severe adverse effects from climate change can be avoided at a reasonable cost but only if politicians stop talking and start acting, a major report from PricewaterhouseCoopers said today. Updating a study it first did two years ago, the accountancy firm said that inaction on reducing carbon emissions in the interim means the necessity for action has become even more urgent than before. It called on leaders of the Group of Eight leading economies, particularly the United States - the world's largest per capita polluter - to commit themselves to firm timetables for emissions reductions at next week's summit in Tokyo.

It estimated the cost of a 50% reduction in global carbon emissions by 2050 at around 3% of global economic growth, at the top of the 2%-3% range it estimated in 2006. This is slightly higher than the upwardly revised figure of 2% estimated by Lord Stern recently but PwC stresses that its forecasts are broadly in line with Stern and both are affordable.

"This is broadly equivalent to sacrificing around a year of global GDP growth between now and 2050," said John Hawksworth, head of macroeconomics at PwC. "In other words, reaching the same level of GDP in 2051 as might otherwise have happened in 2050." PwC has raised its projections for the amount of carbon that would be released between now and 2050 because it expects stronger economic growth in China and India over the next four decades, which in turn would lead to more use of energy and more carbon emissions.

….But PwC said politicians need to take action very soon. "We've heard a lot of talking but we are at the point when politicians need to be specific about a number of concrete actions and hopefully something will emerge this year," said Hawksworth….

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