Fri, 2014-10-10 09:53Sharon Kelly
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A Shift from Fossil Fuels Could Provide $1.8 Trillion in Savings, Two New Reports Conclude

A worldwide transition to low carbon fuels could save the global economy as much as $1.8 trillion over the next two decades, according to two reports published Thursday by the Climate Policy Initiative.

By switching to renewable energy sources, the high costs associated with extracting and transporting coal and gas could be avoided, the reports, titled Moving to a Low Carbon Economy: The Financial Impact of the Low-Carbon Transition, and Moving to a Low Carbon Economy: The Impact of Different Policy Pathways on Fossil Fuel Asset Values, conclude.

This would free up funds to bolster financial support for wind, solar and other renewables – with enormous sums left over, the reports conclude. Following an approach aimed at capping climate change at 2 degrees Celsius will require walking away from massive reserves of fossil fuels, stranding the assets of major corporations, many researchers have warned. The new reports give this issue a closer look, demonstrating that more than half of the assets at risk are actually owned by governments not corporations.

This finding could be double-edged, since that means taxpayer money in many countries is at stake and those governments have the power to establish policies that could promote or repudiate the fossil fuels they control. But the reports' conclusion that trillions could be freed up if governments and private companies abandon those assets could make it easier for governments to leave those fossil fuels in the ground.

Fri, 2014-10-10 09:40Carol Linnitt
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Why Support DeSmog Canada? Here Are Six Reasons It’s Totally Worth It

DeSmog Canada team

As many of our readers have already seen, DeSmog Canada recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign where we raised $50,000 from our generous supporters. Even though we're on the other side of that fundraiser, we still rely on support from readers like you. That's why we make it easy to contribute to DeSmog Canada at anytime through PayPal

If you are wondering why DeSmog Canada deserves your support, here's a list of our top reasons: 

Fri, 2014-10-10 07:16Brendan Montague
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How Free Market Thatcher First Called for Climate Action

In the third of three posts charting how climate change became a political issue, we see how Margaret Thatcher, the high priestess of the magical free markets, first took up Hansen's call… 

Margaret Thatcher as British Prime Minister would be the first politician of global stature to address the increasingly urgent concerns about climate change.

Her speech before the Royal Society in September 1988 was a celebration of science but also a clarion call demanding international government action and a personal endorsement of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which was just being established. “A nation which does not value trained intelligence is doomed,” she told the fellows. 

Fri, 2014-10-10 06:00Mike G
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Reining In Global Warming Emissions Will Be Good For The Economy: Report

Not only will it lead to more costly and catastrophic events like wildfires, droughts, and floods, but delaying action on climate change will in and of itself consitute a missed opportunity to bolster the US economy, according to a new report.

Entitled “Seeing Is Believing: Creating A New Climate Economy In The United States,” the report notes that failing to rein in greenhouse gas emissions will result in a 20% reduction in per capita consumption worldwide over the long term, but stresses that addressing climate change will most certainly be good for the global economy.

Published by the World Resources Institute, the report looks at needed changes in five sectors of the US economy that, altogether, comprised 55% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2012: reducing the carbon intensity of electricity generation; improving efficiency in residential and commercial electricity consumption; building more fuel-efficient passenger vehicles; stopping methane leaks from natural gas systems; and lowering consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a potent greenhouse gas commonly used as a refrigerant.

By surveying peer-reviewed reports from academics, industry associations, think tanks, government labs, and others, the report concludes that: “The ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while benefitting the economy has already been demonstrated through numerous policies and programs implemented in the United States.”

Here are key findings from the report in each of those five areas:

Fri, 2014-10-10 00:18Brendan Montague
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James Hansen: 'I Thought There Would Be a Rational Response'

Scientists were warning about the dangers of climate change even before America discovered and used oil on an industrial scale. Here, in the second of three posts, we see how in the 1980s it appeared politicians would rise to the challenges it presents…

James Hansen was the first scientist to detect the current rise in global temperatures, but he certainly was not the first to understand the effect greenhouse gases have on global temperatures.

It was well understood for centuries that without carbon dioxide, the Earth would be too cold to maintain life as we know it. Warnings about climate change in fact predate the discovery of oil.

In 1824, Joseph Fourier discovered the “greenhouse effect” and explained how heat from the sun is trapped in the Earth's atmosphere. In 1861, the Irish scientist John Tyndall confirmed different gases in the atmospheresuch as carbon dioxidecould change the temperature of the planet.

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