The Heat Is Online

UN: Climate Stabilization May Cost Three Times More than Thought

Climate Fight Costs May Be Three Times More, Nov. 28, 2008

LONDON - The cost of efforts to avoid dangerous global warming may be 170 percent higher than 2007 estimates, a report for the UN's climate agency said on Thursday.

The report comes four days before the UN leads a fresh round of talks in Poland to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol in ongoing negotiations marred by squabbles over who should bear the cost of fighting climate change.

The UN report cited research by the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy adviser to 28 countries, and others which showed growing capital costs especially in the energy sector.

"The increased investment needed is entirely due to higher capital costs for energy supply facilities," it said.

"This increases the scale of the challenge to generate additional investment and financial flows," said the study, titled "Investment and financial flows to address climate change: an update."

Growing capital costs are partly a result of unprecedented demand for gear such as wind turbines driven by climate and energy security policies.

Thursday's report was commissioned for the UN's climate change secretariat which leads the December 1-12 talks in Poznan, Poland.

The new report will add to concerns that a multi-trillion dollar bailout of the global economy in the past two months may have diverted too much cash away from the climate fight.

Last year the corresponding study estimated the additional investment required to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter at $200-210 billion annually by 2030.

That estimate included only the capital cost of measures including efficiency improvements to buildings and more low-carbon power including nuclear and renewable energy.

It excluded other costs such as R&D as well as the benefit of fuel savings from improved efficiency.

However more recent studies in 2008 showed higher estimates. A report on technology transfer also for the UN climate agency estimated total finance needs of $300-1,000 billion annually over the period from now to 2030.

The IEA estimated annual additional investments in technologies to fight climate change at $1,000 billion annually from 2010-2050.

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