Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Another take on that climate investment report from the UN

Reuters: Energy efficiency for power plants, buildings and cars is the easiest way to slow global warming in an investment shift set to cost hundreds of billions of dollars, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

A U.N. report about climate investments, outlined to a meeting in Vienna of 1,000 delegates from 158 nations, also said emissions of greenhouse gases could be curbed more cheaply in developing nations than in rich states.

The cash needed to return rising emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, to current levels by 2030 would amount to 0.3 to 0.5 percent of projected gross domestic product (GDP), or 1.1 to 1.7 percent of global investment flows in 2030, it said.

"Energy efficiency is the most promising means to reduce greenhouse gases in the short term," said Yvo de Boer, the head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, presenting the report to the August 27-31 meeting. The 216-page report was published online last week.

…Energy efficiency in power plants would help, along with measures such as greater fuel efficiency for cars or better insulation in buildings. The study foresees a shift to renewable energies such as solar and hydropower, and some nuclear power.

The report also estimates that investments in helping nations adapt to the impact of climate change would run to tens of billions of dollars in 2030, such as treating more cases of disease such as malaria or building dykes to protect beaches from rising seas.

…The report fills in some gaps in a wider picture given by previous reports such as one by former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern saying it would be cheaper to confront climate change now than wait to combat the consequences…

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