Climate Panel on Solutions to Global Warming
The final report, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said prompt slowing of emissions could set the stage later in the century for stabilization of the concentration of carbon dioxide, which, at 380 parts per million now, has risen more than a third since the start of the industrial revolution and could easily double from the preindustrial level within decades.
The report, which awaits only formal adoption this afternoon, concluded that significant progress toward that goal could be made in the next 25 years with known technologies and policy shifts, but would still need to be followed by a century-long transition to new energy sources that come with no climate impacts.
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The report also made clear the risks of delay, noting that emissions of greenhouse gases have risen 70 percent since 1970 and could rise an additional 90 percent by 2030 if nothing is done.
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According to several authors, the final version estimates that bringing global carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 to levels measured in 2000 would require a cost on released carbon dioxide of $50 to $100 a ton, roughly on a par — in terms of fossil fuel prices — of an additional 25 cents to 50 cents for a gallon of gasoline.
The report projects that this shift might cause a small blunting of global economic activity, resulting in an overall reduction of perhaps one-tenth of a percentage point per year through 2100 in the world’s total economic activity, the authors said.
Some of the experts and government officials involved in the final discussions said in telephone interviews and in e-mail messages that the costs could be substantially greater than that.
But a variety of participants, including some from the United States, said in interviews that it was hard to argue against such an investment, given the potential costs of inaction.
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