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The case for a swift move away from fossil fuels continues to build

Mitigation costs for 450 ppm

Global mitigation costs for stabilization at a level “likely” to stay below 2°C (3.6°F). Source: IPCC 2014 and www.thinkprogress.org

There’s more compelling evidence today — both around the world and here in North Carolina — of the urgent need to move to world economy off of its addiction to the heroin of fossil fuels. Moreover, as this story from the good people at Think Progress reports, such a shift can occur with only a minor economic hit if we act now.

“The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just issued its third of four planned reports. This one is on ‘mitigation’ — ‘human intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases.’

The first two reports laid out humanity’s choice as depicted in the figure above, which appeared in both reports. The first report warned that continued inaction would lead to 9°F warming (or higher) for most of the U.S. and Northern Hemisphere landmass, resulting in faster sea level rise, more extreme weather, and collapse of the permafrost sink, which would further accelerate warming. The second report warned that this in turn would lead to a “breakdown of food systems,” more violent conflicts, and ultimately threaten to make some currently habited and arable land virtually unlivable for parts of the year.

Now you might think it would be a no-brainer that humanity would be willing to pay a very high cost to avoid such catastrophes and achieve the low emission ‘2°C’ (3.6°F) pathway in the left figure above (RCP2.6 — which is a total greenhouse gas level in 2100 equivalent to roughly 450 parts per million of CO2). But the third report finds that the ‘cost’ of doing so is to reduce the median annual growth of consumption over this century by a mere 0.06%.

You read that right, the annual growth loss to preserve a livable climate is 0.06% — and that’s ‘relative to annualized consumption growth in the baseline that is between 1.6% and 3% per year.’ So we’re talking annual growth of, say 2.24% rather than 2.30% to save billions and billions of people from needless suffering for decades if not centuries.”

Meanwhile, here in North Carolina, the Sustainable Energy Association released a new report showing that clean energy will produce numerous positive impacts on the state’s economy.

Today, RTI International, a leading national research institute, released a new study, The Economic Impact Analysis of Clean Energy Development in North Carolina, that reveals sizable contributions that clean energy development is making to the North Carolina economy. The analysis also focuses specifically on the clean energy policies that have had a proven positive economic impact in the state.

Read more by clicking here.

 

3 Comments


  1. LayintheSmakDown

    April 14, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    If global warming (assuming it is real…which is a huge stretch considering the data over the past 17 years)can stop harsh winters like this past one, NC and mankind will be better off. GW can only help mankind out with longer growing seasons, more moisture in the atmosphere to produce rain, and the added benefit that glaciers are not in NC.

  2. Alan

    April 14, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    TIN… FOIL…HAT…CRAZY… TALK.

    Global warming isn’t real according to the science deniers, but the earth is 6000 years old and dinosaurs coexisted? So, why is it 97% of scientists know, through their research, that climate change is real?

    http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus

    http://www.gotsci.org/

  3. Alan

    April 14, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Correction:

    Dinosaurs and humans coexisted?

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