BANGKOK (Reuters) - Humans need to make sweeping cuts in greenhouse gas emissions over the next 50 years to keep global warming in check, but it need only cost a tiny fraction of world economic output, a major U.N. climate report said on Friday.So let's say you make $50,000. The cost, on that scale, would be $60.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in the third of a series of reports, said keeping the rise in temperatures to within 2 degrees Celsius would cost only 0.12 percent of annual gross domestic product.
"It's a low premium to pay to reduce the risk of major climate damage," Bill Hare, a Greenpeace adviser who co-authored the report, told Reuters at the end of marathon talks that ran over their four-day schedule to finalize the document.
Cheaper than a cup of coffee a week.
This places the responsibility for cleaning up global carbon emissions squarely in the lap of the developed world, to both clean up their acts as well as assist the developing world in leapfrogging fossil fuel technologies to more efficient energy production methods.
Naturally, as this report is the result of over 100 countries having their say in it, it's a barely legitimate assessment of the costs and benefits of these expenditures, but hell, it's a legitimate start and may help enough to avert devastation and tragedies worldwide.
Too, there will undoubtedly be some bleatings on the right, as this tactic will pretty much ensure that new technologies to replace antiquated ones will be introduced. Privatization of utilities, for example, means that it will be more difficult to exchange older coal-based power generation with cleaner technologies, since there will be enormous pressure from short-term investors to keep the status quo.
Hey, I'm sure that extra buck or two in their annual dividends can help them reduce greenhouse gases, right?