Sunday, May 06, 2007

Good Earth on the Cheap

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released a report stating that reducing carbon emissions might not be as costly as right-wing radio talk-show hosts would have you believe (why people believe radio personalities over scientific consensus could be a topic all on its own):

BANGKOK--Climate change can be tackled without breaking the bank, and it won't require a technological miracle. That is the upbeat conclusion from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has been holed up behind closed doors for the past 3 days here to debate options for mitigating the impacts of global warming.

The fruit of their labor is the executive summary of a larger report on climate-change mitigation that will be published in September. It is intended as an array of options for policymakers to prevent the worst-case scenarios of climate change by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. The most ambitious plan, which would stabilize CO2 below 535 parts per million (ppm), would come with an estimated 3% decrease in global gross domestic product by 2030. Less ambitious targets come with smaller price tags, and the least ambitious--aiming for under 710 ppm CO2--is predicted to yield a small net gain for the global economy. (Current atmospheric CO2 is 380 ppm.) According to the report, getting from today's carbon-intensive economy to any of these targets is achievable with currently available tools, including a shift to alternative energies, boosts in energy efficiency, and reductions in deforestation.