IPCC: Cost of Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change Super-Affordable if We Act Now

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:10 PM GMT on April 13, 2014

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Climate change is a huge threat to civilization if we do nothing more to reduce it, but the costs are very affordable if we start now, said the Nobel-prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today, in the third installment of their once-every-seven-years report on the climate. Today's report on mitigation--how we can slow down climate change--was the most hopeful of the reports, since it found that the cost of keeping global warming under the "dangerous" level of 2°C will only reduce "consumption growth" of the global economy by 0.06% per year if we start immediately and act strongly. Since consumption growth is expected to increase between 1.6% and 3% per year in the coming decades, we’re talking about annual growth that is, for example, 2% rather than 2.06%. This is a small price to pay to greatly decrease the risks of increased hunger, thirst, disease, refugees, and war outlined in the IPCC's frightening Working Group 2 report on risks and adaptation released two weeks ago. Today's report was authored by 235 scientists from 58 countries, and was approved by the governments of every nation of the world who cared to send a representative to the week-long approval meeting in Berlin, Germany. There is one more portion of the 2013 - 2014 IPCC report coming, a grand summary of Parts 1, 2, and 3 that will be released around November 1, 2014. Some key themes from today's report on mitigation:

Emissions of greenhouse gases are rising at a near-record pace. Greenhouse gas emissions grew 2.2% per year between 2000 - 2010, compared to a rate of 1.3% per year between 1979 - 2000. The increase was 3% per year between 2010 - 2011, and 1 - 2% from 2011 - 2012. About 76% of the greenhouse gases emitted were in the form of CO2, with 16% from methane. In 2010, ten countries accounted for about 70% of the world's CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industrial processes. About half of the cumulative human-caused CO2 emissions between 1750 and 2010 have occurred in the last 40 years.

If we are going to avoid a dangerous 2°C (3.6°F) warming, we must make large and rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. At the 2010 climate talks in Cancun, the governments of the world agreed that global warming should be kept under 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels in order to avoid a "dangerous" threshold of climate change. The new IPCC report says that in order to do this, the share of zero and low carbon energy sources like solar, wind, nuclear, and unproven technologies like fossil fuel with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) must at least triple by 2050, and greenhouse gas emissions will have to fall 40 - 70%, compared to 2010 levels. By 2100, emissions of CO2 need to be near zero. This would require about $30 billion per year less to be spent on fossil fuels from 2010 - 2029, $147 billion per year more to be spent on zero and low carbon energy sources, and several hundred billion per year more per year to be spent on energy efficiency. (For comparison, the annual global total investment in the energy system is $1.2 trillion.) The report emphasizes that the greenhouse gas reduction promises made at the 2010 Cancun summit for the year 2020 are not enough to keep warming of the planet below 2°C at the lowest cost, though will likely keep a 3°C temperature rise from occurring.

If the world delays mitigation through 2030, it will be much more expensive and perhaps impossible to keep warming below 2° C. Models that delayed doing significant emission cuts until 2030 showed that the economic costs during the transition to renewable energy and in the long-term would be higher. Also, if some key (and unproven) technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) turn out not to be feasible at large scales, it will be difficult to keep warming below 2° C.

Keeping Earth's temperature rise below 2°C will have additional co-benefits. For example:
1) Reducing air pollution. The World Health Organization reported that in 2012 about 7 million people died--one in eight of total global deaths--as a result of air pollution exposure.
2) Improving energy security, leading to less price volatility and fewer supply disruptions.
3) Environmental protection.

There is a huge opportunity in the next few decades to build low-emission cities. Urban land cover is projected to expand by 56 - 310% between 2000 and 2030. Most of this urban infrastructure has yet to be built, presenting a tremendous opportunity to build the new urban areas so they emit fewer greenhouse gases. However, this will require strong policy, technical, financial and institutional measures.

Economic and population growth are the main drivers of greenhouse gas emissions. We've grown far more efficient at producing goods using less energy, meaning that the "energy intensity" of the global economy steadily declined from 2000 - 2010. However, increasing economic growth and population growth have outpaced the decline in energy intensity, resulting in higher greenhouse gas emissions. "Without additional efforts to reduce GHG emissions beyond those in place today, emissions growth is expected to persist driven by growth in global population and economic activities." If we take no additional measures to slow down human-caused climate change, the planet is expected to warm by about 4°C by 2100 compared to per-industrial levels. That's the same difference in temperature as between today's climate and the Ice Age.

Greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation are decreasing. Some good news is that the global rate of deforestation has been going down, which has made greenhouse gas emissions due to land use changes decline (greenhouse gas emissions due from agriculture, forestry, and other land use are 24% of the human total.) These type of emissions are projected to continue to fall, and possibly go to zero by 2100.

Renewable energy is growing fast, but needs help to increase its market share. In order to help renewable energy grow more rapidly, direct or indirect subsidies are needed. Indirect subsidies could occur by taxing fossil fuels or adopting a cap and trade system. The report doesn't recommend any particular policy actions, but does note that "to help reduce possible adverse effects on lower income groups who often spend a large fraction of their income on energy services, many governments have utilized lump‐sum cash transfers or other mechanisms targeted on the poor."

Links
New Blockbuster IPCC Climate Report: Comprehensive, Authoritative, Conservative, my September 2013 post on who the IPCC is, and how they write their reports.

Landmark 2013 IPCC Report: 95% Chance Most of Global Warming is Human-Caused, my September 2013 post on Part I of the 2013 - 2014 IPCC report.

IPCC: Climate Change Increasing Risk of Hunger, Thirst, Disease, Refugees, and War, my March 31, 2014 post on Part II of the 2013 - 2014 IPCC report.

Available: professionals willing to speak about climate change to local groups
If your school, chamber of commerce, church, library, or community club needs a local expert on climate science to come speak, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and the United Nations Foundation can help out, thanks to a new effort called climatevoices.org. The organization has more than 160 volunteer experts from al 50 states in a database that is searchable by geographic location, expertise, and languages spoken. If you are have expertise in climate science and are interested in volunteering for this network, please go to climatevoices.org and create a profile. I have my own set of slides I use for such talks that anyone is welcome to borrow from, available at http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/2013/climatetalk.ppt.

Jeff Masters

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1008. StormTrackerScott
4:14 PM GMT on April 15, 2014
Strong to severe thunderstorms now moving toward the Orlando metro.
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 7 Comments: 3845
1007. Birthmark
2:56 PM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 839. Webberweather53:



So, there's next to nothing relevant to giving the actually links to the source of the data used in this graph from NOAA, JISAO, etc? If you prefer to let others think for yourself when given an opportunity to seek independent thinking, please be my guest & tell me how that works out for you.



Please provide instances where "independent thinking" beat out the Scientific Method in uncovering the way the universe behaves.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
1006. Birthmark
2:53 PM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 828. Webberweather53:



He likely wouldn't mind one bit. Ironically after all, he was battling against the "established" science of his time...

No, he was battling against the Church. Religious dogma is quite different to AGW theory. Your end of the discussion is much closer to religion, what with the lack of substance and all.

Galileo would be mortified by your invocation of his comment.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
1005. Patrap
2:03 PM GMT on April 15, 2014
R U Ready? Cane Evacuation for NOLA
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
1004. weathermanwannabe
12:13 PM GMT on April 15, 2014
Good Morning. Had a hard time finding the comment section on the new look. We will get used to it over the next few days. Front going through North Florida at the moment and no severe weather to speak of. However, buckets of rain and the drive into work was slow. Now we have to keep an eye on flooding on roadways and our rivers. A very wet start to Spring.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9329
1003. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
12:13 PM GMT on April 15, 2014
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
1002. skycycle
12:09 PM GMT on April 15, 2014
How does a 4.0 earthquake warrant a Tsunami warning - can you please share the link to that, because it seems highly improbable? The 6.9 alone would be hard pressed to qualify for such a warning, despite its shallow depth - a 4.0 isn't worth mentioning at all, i dont know if it's "your thing" to post about all of these, but let's focus on important ones and not spam the blog, right?
Member Since: August 26, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 207
1001. PlazaRed
12:09 PM GMT on April 15, 2014
So being dazed and confused by the new blog appearance. I cant find me!
Before there was a little bit at the top right had corner with me in it and sometimes after a computer scan it said sign in!
I had a good look and finally found things on the bottom line but no me, also no minus - signs anymore.
Maybe this is just a mock up to test us on a Tuesday lunchtime here.
I was hoping there might be an optional space to put a location of the blogger in so as we don't keep having to ask where they are?
Also the posts update is missing at the right side in the box.

I'm sure we will figure it out.
Where's the link bit for adding external links in.
All in all its a bit bright and probably too big for the screen but then again I can reduce the scale a bit.
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2093
1000. Climate175
11:55 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 995. yonzabam:



You posted that yesterday, and I'm still no wiser. Go on, tell us what the different shades of blue signify. Is it gorilla population density?
This is the African ITCZ map and where the ITCZ is in April.
Member Since: September 24, 2013 Posts: 7 Comments: 4412
999. Tropicsweatherpr
11:55 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Something minor that is happening to my ENSO blog is that I can't see the list of people that + the blog. Hopefully,that is fixed soon.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14559
998. Tropicsweatherpr
11:13 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Good morning.

Spectacular the lunar eclipse. I was sleeping but here is a closeup shot made by telescope.


Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14559
997. hurricanes2018
10:34 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
some snow in the northeast tonight 3 to 6 inches..
Member Since: March 12, 2013 Posts: 48 Comments: 79740
996. Webberweather53
10:19 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Posted this on Tropicsweatherpr's blog, thought it would be worth posting here as well...
As advertised, as the MJO continued to progress eastward through the Maritime Continent & into the western Pacific, I mentioned that we would see some sort of -SOI crash & rather strong WWBs, & that's exactly what we're getting @ this point in time, w/ the daily SOI down to -6.8 & falling rapidly as the convectively suppressive phase of the MJO (downward motion) is reaching Darwin, Australia.
Link

As posted below by others in this blog earlier, you can see strong WWBs have commenced...


This makes sense given this picture showing 200mb VP & TRMM rainfall. Note the core of the deepest blues (upward motion) is located over 160E- & to the International Date Line, whereas the epicenter of downward motion is currently over India (in deepest reds). As a general rule of thumb, WWBs are usually the located behind, or west of the mean upward convective center & ahead of, or east the downward suppressive center & this is consistent w/ the 850mb zonal wind anomalies shown above, w/ WWBs mainly east of the International Dateline. Although I have noted in some of my reading & appear to be confirming in this case, that in accordance to the MJO, low tropospheric/near-surface westerly winds (WWBs) usually push through the convective center in the Pacific, while they are typically more relatively symmetric about the convective center (i.e. further west) in the Indian Ocean region & the underlying reason to this phenomena may originate from the typical convective decay of the MJO once it approaches the International Dateline/central Pacific region where SST are in most cases insufficient (too cold) to significantly support latent heat processes that are the backbone to the MJO. However, this generality can change during El Nino as the Equatorial Pacific SST warm, thus inducing the MJO convective signal to push further east in the Pacific...
Member Since: April 9, 2014 Posts: 0 Comments: 375
995. yonzabam
10:15 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 544. Climate175:




You posted that yesterday, and I'm still no wiser. Go on, tell us what the different shades of blue signify. Is it gorilla population density?
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2955
994. barbamz
10:11 AM GMT on April 15, 2014




BTW, new WU logo obviously took the colours from my avatar (detail from an old coloured print from the 15th century), lol.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 58 Comments: 6251
993. barbamz
10:01 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Asian air pollution strengthens Pacific storms
By Rebecca Morelle Global science correspondent, BBC News, 14 April 2014 Last updated at 23:24 GMT
Air pollution in China and other Asian countries is having far-reaching impacts on weather patterns across the Northern Hemisphere, a study suggests.
Researchers have found that pollutants are strengthening storms above the Pacific Ocean, which feeds into weather systems in other parts of the world.
The effect was most pronounced during the winter.
The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Lead author Yuan Wang, from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, said: "The effects are quite dramatic. The pollution results in thicker and taller clouds and heavier precipitation." ...

Whole article see link above.

Good morning. I see Beta has become Alpha, lol. I wouldn't have demanded for a change but I'll try to get used to it. Nevertheless thanks for all the work that has been done.

P.S. Would be really nice to get the "Community activity" back, sigh. Would spare you the effort to continually hit F5 in order to see whether someone has posted something new.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 58 Comments: 6251
992. StormTrackerScott
10:00 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
If the 0Z Euro is correct then we just might have our first named storm just off the east coast of FL later this weekend.
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 7 Comments: 3845
991. yonzabam
9:26 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 990. KoritheMan:



Not on my end.

Browser issue, most likely.


Well, I use chrome, but switched to IE to check, and it's the same problem on IE. I'm in the UK, and the times are adjusted to GMT. Might be a problem with that software.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2955
990. KoritheMan
9:12 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 989. yonzabam:



Only on the current page. It's missing on the other pages.


Not on my end.

Browser issue, most likely.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 597 Comments: 21090
989. yonzabam
9:08 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 988. KoritheMan:



Time is at the top left.


Only on the current page. It's missing on the other pages.

Edit: it's now disappeared from the current page, too.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2955
988. KoritheMan
8:59 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 987. yonzabam:

Well, it looks as if the new 'improved' Beta version is now non optional. First thing i notice is that the times are missing from the posts. I used to check back to the last time I posted to catch up with replies. Can't do that now.


Time is at the top left.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 597 Comments: 21090
987. yonzabam
8:47 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Well, it looks as if the new 'improved' Beta version is now non optional. First thing i notice is that the times are missing from the posts. I used to check back to the last time I posted to catch up with replies. Can't do that now.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2955
986. sar2401
7:39 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting Guysgal:
Rain and hail in afternoon and evening have given way to overcast skies, cold temps and wind. No lunar eclipse over Memphis and no more Weatherunderground Classic version! The new version is no fun on iPhone as it hangs up on comments and has thrown me out twice. *sigh*

There's still a classic. I'm using it now.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 16289
985. Skyepony (Mod)
7:31 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 981. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

did it go red skye

Yes, it is more red than Mars now..

I got a picture just as it eclipsed. I don't have a proper camera but the bird bath did well for a tripod..

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 192 Comments: 38650
984. Guysgal
7:25 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Rain and hail in afternoon and evening have given way to overcast skies, cold temps and wind. No lunar eclipse over Memphis and no more Weatherunderground Classic version! The new version is no fun on iPhone as it hangs up on comments and has thrown me out twice. *sigh*
Member Since: May 9, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 218
983. oldnewmex
7:11 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 979. Skyepony:


Looked like Mars to me.

Fully eclipsed moon here.

Yep, Mars. Moon eclipsed here, finally. Looks good, even through the thin clouds.
Member Since: January 28, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 181
982. PedleyCA
7:09 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 977. oldnewmex:


Awesome photojournalism, ped! My view is mostly obscured by high-level clouds.


I am glad that my puny attempt has some fans.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
981. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
7:09 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 979. Skyepony:



Looked like Mars to me.

Fully eclipsed moon here.
did it go red skye
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
980. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
7:09 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
later ped iam out as well see everyone in the daylight
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
979. Skyepony (Mod)
7:09 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 975. PedleyCA:



Is that Mars up and off to the right a bit?? I saw someone said to look out for that and a certain star?


Looked like Mars to me.

Fully eclipsed moon here.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 192 Comments: 38650
978. PedleyCA
7:08 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
It is almost all gone, just a bit of white on the right side. If I didn't know where to look I might have missed it.
Well, with that I am going to bail. Have a nice morning everyone.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
977. oldnewmex
7:06 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 973. PedleyCA:
lol dated 1/08/2005 too funny. Date goes away everytime the batteries are replaced.
Zoom in real good on that, it is a crescent looking moon.

Awesome photojournalism, ped! My view is mostly obscured by high-level clouds.
Member Since: January 28, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 181
976. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
7:06 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
975. PedleyCA
7:06 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 972. PedleyCA:



This is as good as it gets.


Is that Mars up and off to the right a bit?? I saw someone said to look out for that and a certain star?
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
974. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
7:02 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
973. PedleyCA
7:01 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
lol dated 1/08/2005 too funny. Date goes away everytime the batteries are replaced.
Zoom in real good on that, it is a crescent looking moon.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
972. PedleyCA
6:57 AM GMT on April 15, 2014


This is as good as it gets.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
971. KalainH
6:57 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
I know that everyone is preoccupied with the lunar eclipse that's currently occurring, but in the past two hours, two earthquakes occurred, a 6.9 magnitude southwest of Africa;



and a 4.0 in the Northern Caribbean;



and both warranted a Tsunami Information Statement from the NWS NTWC.

Bit coincidental that it happened during the eclipse but this was something pretty remarkable because tsunami statements are very rare for the Caribbean Sea usually, but two in one night is noteworthy.
Member Since: October 12, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 14
970. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
6:52 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 968. PedleyCA:



Sneak peek...
nope new logo is up on everything now I think or should be or it will be

lol
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
969. allancalderini
6:52 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
watching the moon with some neighbors.
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4455
968. PedleyCA
6:49 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 964. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:




Sneak peek...
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
967. PedleyCA
6:46 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 966. wunderkidcayman:


U think your bad try me using a blackberry phone and my IPad


I have neither of those, just a Tracfone clamshell and a netbook. I just have to upload this and I can't remember how.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
966. wunderkidcayman
6:38 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 961. PedleyCA:



I might try and take a picture but my camera is an HP and I don't expect much. I am not a photographer.

U think your bad try me using a blackberry phone and my IPad
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12420
965. wunderkidcayman
6:37 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
The moon is half dark here plus very clear night
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12420
964. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
6:36 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
963. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
6:35 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
962. BaltimoreBrian
6:28 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Chicago O'Hare got 0.9" and Indianapolis got 0.1" as of midnight, still snowing lightly there. Both cities will remain at their 3rd snowiest season. To watch--Cincinnati needs 0.5" to get to #2. Detroit needs 1.4" to get to #1

Cleveland needs 3.7" to go from 8th to 7th. But only 2.5" more than that to go from 7th to 5th. Doubtful but we'll see!
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8714
961. PedleyCA
6:26 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 958. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

are ya taking pictures cause that's the only way I am seeing this one this time around


I might try and take a picture but my camera is an HP and I don't expect much. I am not a photographer.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
960. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
6:23 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 959. Skyepony:

About a quarter of the moon is gone here.
sucks I can't see it
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
959. Skyepony (Mod)
6:20 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
About a quarter of the moon is gone here.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 192 Comments: 38650
958. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
6:19 AM GMT on April 15, 2014
Quoting 957. PedleyCA:

Its is starting cover the edge of the moon or so it appears, the edge looks flat and the center is darker looking.
are ya taking pictures cause that's the only way I am seeing this one this time around
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.