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How much would it cost to keep climate change in check?

by AirTalk®

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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II co-chairman Chris Field (2nd L) at a press conference after the 10th plenary of the IPCC Working Group II in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo on March 31, 2014. Soaring carbon emissions will amplify the risk of conflict, hunger, floods and migration this century, the UN's expert panel said in a landmark report on the impact of climate change YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its new report on Sunday laying out the staggering realities of the impact of climate change. The UN's expert panel said that increases in CO2, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels, pushed global temperatures up by an average of 2.2 percent a year between 2000 and 2010.

If nothing changes, we could see global temperatures rise by 5 to 7 degrees fahrenheit by 2100. The consequences of such a rise would be devastating for many nations around the world.

Tucked into the report is an assessment of how much it would cost for governments around the world to switch from fossil fuels to zero- or low-carbon sources including wind and solar power.

The IPCC's chairman called the cost "relatively modest" and said it's well within our reach. In order to achieve the necessary reduction in CO2, the UN panel said that investment in fossil fuels would drop by about $30 billion annually while investments in low-carbon sources would grow by $147 billion.

The costs may be called 'modest' but are governments willing to make the investments necessary to keep global CO2 emissions in check? Secretary of State John Kerry called the investments a global economic opportunity but will the US be a leader in investing in renewable energy? How much will it really cost to prevent a catastrophic temperatures rise?


Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute and formerly the Special Envoy for climate change at the World Bank


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