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The headline says it all: The new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change proves that averting catastrophic climate change is affordable, but only if the world is galvanized into action. Only if we stop wasting time!
The authoritative report, produced by 1250 international experts and approved by 194 governments, dismisses fears that slashing carbon emissions would wreck the world economy. It is the final part of a definitive trilogy that has already shown that climate change is “unequivocally” caused by humans and that, unchecked, it poses a grave threat to people and could lead to wars and mass migration.
This must be done. With the urgency an unprecedented global crisis demands.
Diverting hundred of billions of dollars from fossil fuels into renewable energy and cutting energy waste would shave just 0.06% off expected annual economic growth rates of 1.3%-3%, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report concluded. Furthermore, the analysis did not include the benefits of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which could outweigh the costs.
And that's the key. Because the most comprehensive analysis of the economic impacts of climate change concluded that, among its many devastating human and environmental impacts, will be a loss of 5 to 20 percent of global GDP. Which the lead author of the analysis last year said was an overall under-estimation. Another study concluded that the net benefit of avoiding climate catastrophe would be $615 to $830 trillion. One of the biggest lies promoted by opponents of action on climate change is that it will be too costly to address. Well, that lie has been completely debunked.

Please read below the fold for more on this global crisis.

The new IPCC report warns that carbon emissions have soared in the last decade and are now growing at almost double the previous rate. But its comprehensive analysis found rapid action can can still limit global warming to 2C, the internationally agreed safety limit, if low-carbon energy triples or quadruples by 2050.
Global political and economic leaders bumble ahead with disastrous expansions of fossil fuels burning, using high tech techniques to find and burn every last speck of coal and drop of oil. Given the consequences, it could not be more insane. And even the less dirty natural gas isn't the answer, as Joe Romm explains:
The IPCC asserts that natural gas can act as a short-term bridge fuel if “the fugitive emissions associated with extraction and supply are low or mitigated” — which multiple recent studies make clear is not currently the case (see “By The Time Natural Gas Has A Net Climate Benefit You’ll Likely Be Dead And The Climate Ruined“).

In the scenario that gives us the best chance of avoiding catastrophe, stabilizing at 450 ppm CO2-eq by 2100, natural gas power generation must peak and fall “to below current levels by 2050″ — and decline further post-2050. So the world is already using more natural gas than it can safely afford to be using in just 36 years.

The human world needs to stop fracking, and mining tar sands, and developing new oil fields. It needs to divert its resources to developing clean energy, with unprecedented urgency. Even those monomaniacally obsessed with economics should be able to understand: averting climate change impacts will save money. Lots of money. The new report could not make that more clear.
“It is actually affordable to do it and people are not going to have to sacrifice their aspirations about improved standards of living,” said Professor Jim Skea, an energy expert at Imperial College London and co-chair of the IPCC report team. “It is not a hair-shirt change of lifestyle at all that is being envisaged and there is space for poorer countries to develop too,” Skea told the Guardian."
Of course, poorer countries also will suffer most from the devastation caused by climate change. But the bottom line is that one group of industries must be called to account, and their overwhelming political influence must end.
On Thursday, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for an anti-apartheid style campaign against fossil fuel companies, which he blames for the “injustice” of climate change.
There is no other way. It's the fossil fuels industries against the world. For now, they're winning. As Joe Romm summarizes:
Climate Panel Stunner: Avoiding Climate Catastrophe Is Super Cheap — But Only If We Act Now
No more excuses. No more lies. No more delays. We have to act now.

Originally posted to Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 08:07 AM PDT.

Also republished by Good News, SciTech, and Gulf Watchers Group.

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