Climate change solution can be cheap, said analysts, but not literally. It is a positive note to a clamor for solving climate change. As the National Geographic reported this week, the Earth’s dashboard is already flashing red. Indeed, many have acknowledged the climate change and global warming problems all are facing now.
American author and physicist Joseph Romm of Climate Progress said, by saying cheap, he means low in price, below the price of the real value or relatively low price. It is defining the word in relation to the actual value of the goods being bought, and the term “relatively” is applied.
More researches are conducted while many individuals start to inquire what can they do to help, and are always on the lookout for any good news as headlines about climate change are becoming more overwhelming and scary. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has all the relevant information from around the globe regarding human-induced climate change, has grim assessments of the subject, saying, the world is still trudging on the path to destruction, if without huge policy changes.
What makes climate change solution difficult is its impact to the economy. Environment and economic growth are correlated. More Gross National Product means more pollution. Every country wants to get explosive economic growth but that would mean more emission of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
Environmentalists claim that to save Planet Earth, the idea of an ever-growing economy should be given up, shared Paul Krugman of The New York Times. On the other side, people say an attempt to put a limitation to pollution will impact growth; and that there is no reason not to become richer while reducing its adverse effect on the environment.
Yet, the world has reached a point where there are enough experiments, said David Roberts of Grist, and it is time to set technologies into action. However, decarbonization requires a focused and ambitious urgent aim to enhancement and innovation, which will take huge budget.
The benefits of solution to climate change are there, but Roberts said that even if they outweigh costs, the costs are still enormous. Furthermore, there is the involvement of transformation for wholesale energy, as well as political and social barriers. The task faced by humanity ahead is indeed possible, but might not be easy and cheap.
On a different angle, climate change solution can be “cheap,” said Romm. He explained that to achieve the 2°C average increase of surface temperature to avoid dangerous climate change is not expensive.
IPCC concluded that to preserve a livable climate, the world should sacrifice an annual growth of 0.06 percent, relative to the baseline yearly consumption growth of 1.6 to 3 percent. This means, instead of having a yearly growth of 2.3 percent for instance, the world should be willing to lose 0.06 percent, and instead, settle for 2.24 percent – to save billions of people from unnecessary long-term suffering.
According to Romm, the term “cheap” is relative to one’s wealth. What can be expensive for the public, can be “cheap” for the wealthiest people, such as what a $900 million is for a world-class entrepreneur who is worth $40 billion. To regulate the environment, although would require costs today, will be worth it because billions of dollars will be saved in the future.
With regards to climate change, science points out that the most expensive thing is inaction. Delaying action is a fake economy, the International Energy Agency warned in 2011.
Romm added that whether or not climate change solution can be cheap, humanity is left with no choice anyway. Just like for the Allies to win the Second World War, there is no choice but to fight to win.
By Judith Aparri
Photo courtesy of Klem@s – Flickr License