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Will Global Leaders Stake 0.06% of GNP Growth to Avoid Runaway Climate Change?

In this early November post, author and energy management consultant David Thorpe asks the provocative question: Are the world’s leaders prepared to stake 0.06% of projected economic growth to avoid runaway climate change?

“Delaying additional mitigation to 2030 will substantially increase the technological, economic, social, and institutional challenges associated with limiting the warming over the 21st century to below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported November 2. The IPCC came up with the 0.06% as the average global GDP cost of acting sooner—without factoring in the economic benefits [1] of reduced climate change.

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“It has long been known that smart policy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a small cost, even for deep cuts,” said University of Sussex Prof. Richard Tol. But that requires an across-the-board carbon tax, and “all evidence to date is that governments compete on who can think of the daftest climate policies,” he told Thorpe.

Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer of the Potsdam Institute added that 0.06% is an average figure, and “for some countries, this could be quite a huge challenge.”