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       That's the takeaway number from a New Scientist summary of a report from the International Energy Agency.  This is about the costs of converting to green energy in order to limit global warming to 2° C. As New Scientist's Catherine Brahic explains,

In 2012 the IEA estimated the cost of the transition at $36 trillion, which is $8 trillion less than this year's figure. To some extent, the rise is down to quirks in the calculations, such as changes in the value of the dollar. But there is one big factor: the longer we wait to take action on climate change, the more it costs.

Instead of investing in renewable energy now, companies are building coal power stations. These will have to be dismantled early to move to a greener grid, reducing return on the investment. What's more, a later transition must be faster so companies will struggle to roll things out in the cheapest way.

   Regardless of Climate Change, we still have to spend money on our power systems as they age and as demand increases. Short term thinking is killing us: the cost of green energy is more, up front - but over time it actually saves money. Also note: the costs referred to above are mainly about changing energy systems. They omit other costs from weather events, crop failures, disease, flooding, etc. As the saying goes, we can pay now, or we can pay more later.

    For an additional story from New Scientist on what the weather is doing, there's a map of the U.S. with some disturbing info: California's burning – and half the US is now in drought.

Originally posted to Climate Change SOS on Thu May 15, 2014 at 10:26 AM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (20+ / 0-)

    A trillion here, a trillion there - pretty soon it begins to add up. What David Atkins over at Digby's said.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Thu May 15, 2014 at 10:25:35 AM PDT

  •  This is an excellent idea to get across. The (9+ / 0-)

    Republicans keep saying, "well we may be having global warming, but we really can not afford to harm our economy by making any effort to slow it down."

    What this article illustrates is that we will harm our economy a lot more if we do not take quicker action. Delay costs us more.

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

    by HoundDog on Thu May 15, 2014 at 10:39:10 AM PDT

  •  Is there a famous "old saying about this xaxnar?" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, citisven, Glen The Plumber

    I'm having a senior moment."

    It's not this one, but something like "A stitch in time, saves nine," or "a penny saved, is as penny earned?"

    Dang, I hate it when this happens. I need to find that article about a hundred deep in my que of articles I'm 'almost, thinking about, just, about, to post." where this women announces a study that says the reason older people have these senior moments is not that our brains are slower than young peoples  but because we have have so much more in our brains that it take longer for our filing clerks to find stuff.

    Which makes a lot of sense. But, when I go to post it, it turns out this women is not a scientist, and didn't even stay at a Motel 6, but just seems to have had this thought occur to her. But it is such a good thought I can't bring myself to throw it out just in case a real study should come along proving this I could give her credit for foresight.

    Anyway, where is that great wise man of "old sayings"  George W. Bush when we need him." I rememeber how inspiring it was when he create a whole new meaning to the old phrase and made up a new one by saying "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me another time ..... uh,,,  don' keep dong that again..... " or something like that.  Priceless.

    So we need something here former President Bush, like

    "If we don't stop global warming now, we're going to have to pay three times as much to stop it later, plus there will be aligators swimming in the lake in our front yard." or something pithy like that." "George!!!!"    

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

    by HoundDog on Thu May 15, 2014 at 10:52:33 AM PDT

    •  Oh, sorry, xaxnar, I should have put a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Glen The Plumber

      an (attempted humor alert tag) on the sentence there about the Motel 6. I understand that every since that Chinese New agency picked up my Onion like snark post saying George Bush did Chimp imitations to amuse delegates at the conventions in Rio de Janero the powers that be like "snark" to be cleary labeled  so as not to be confused with serious commentary nor new reporting, even when we migh think it to obvious. Sometimes in different cultures my humor is so .... "subtle" and dare I say "sublime" is confused with reality which you have to admit, is sort of a humorous thought in and off itself.

      Especially, since I know have a tag warning folks to be caution about everything I say.  Bwa, ha, ha. I'm keeping them on their toes, xaxnar. We've got to exercise our little grey cells to keep them in shape.

      Cheers, and keep on truckin'

      (Note to readers, "truckin' " is not misspelled but rather an intentional cultural allusion. See Grateful Dead, or Crumb's Zap Comics for more info.)  

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

      by HoundDog on Thu May 15, 2014 at 11:02:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not getting around to Climate Change mediation (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, Glen The Plumber

        is not funny. We are not amused. Nobody gets to "keep on truckin". Not even the checkered demon.

        Money is not a good reason for doing or not doing anything that has to do with the survival of everything that walks or scrawls, swims or flies on this planet.

        I can remember comic books from the fifties about aliens based on the poles changing the climate so that when they took over the Earth it would be adapted and terra formed to their needs.

        I can remember short sci Fi stories like "How to Serve Man" with the punch line that it was a cookbook, but we are still letting Republicans who are undoubtedly an alien species as regards normal humans, con us with their assurances that austerity and tax breaks for the rich benefit us in the long run.

        I grant you that we don't have $36 trillion and by the time that figure is doubled we won't have $72 trillion either. That's about how much tax evaders have socked away in the Bahamas.

        The joke will be on them because the Bahamas are going to be one of the first places to sink beneath the waves and then their money is going to get awful wet.

        Politicians, Federal, State and Local agencies, big business, lawyers, guns, money all our military hardware are impotent to do much here.

        Seven Billion people maybe Eight  Billion in twenty years when we get around to formally noticing how the shit has been hitting the fan these last few decades are going to die miserably, helplessly, locked into their execution chamber by what we do now.

        We have to do what we have to do even knowing nobody else is going to come along and save us.

        "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

        by rktect on Thu May 15, 2014 at 11:42:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I remember "How To Serve Man" one of the all time (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          xaxnar, Glen The Plumber

          great episode.  

          Well, he has to keep on truckin' rktect. What the heck else is he going to do, stop talking about it? I'm encouraging him to keep spreading the word rather than giving up, as I have sadly done many times over the last 25 years after hearing about this for the first time.

          Yesterday, Lenny wry noted that people are not likely to do anything about global warming until the sea level as risen to their angle and some one wrote in to note he was on the optimistic side of the community.

          We shall see.

          I am pleased to see the media is finally responding en mass, and yesterday Senator Marco Rubio  was hammered by about six comics for his stupid climate denial.

          Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

          by HoundDog on Thu May 15, 2014 at 12:29:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I like gallows humor and it is the only way I can (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          xaxnar, Glen The Plumber

          sustain my attention so focused on such a grim and depressing topic. Yesterday I believe I wrote four of my nine posts on global warming related topic.

          One cartoon I found inspiring was a fellow bound to a post about to be executed by a firing squad and the Commander comes to offer him the customer "last cigarette." the prisoner declines saying "no thank you, I'm trying to cut back."

          Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

          by HoundDog on Thu May 15, 2014 at 12:33:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Cost Benefit Analysis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mindful Nature, Glen The Plumber

    I have fantasies now of scuffles in the streets as the now informed public rises up against all the SUVs and trucks with one person scooting around to dog parks and Whole FOods markets.

    And when are the local town hall meetings going to be inundated by folks demanding all storefronts stop lighting up their windows over night?

    When are we going to demand solar powered street lights, carfree downtown areas and no power hours?

    If you're not terrified into action by the IPCC's 5th Assessment , you're not human.

    by boatsie on Thu May 15, 2014 at 11:29:28 AM PDT

  •  Sequestering the Coal exhaust CO2 is still the ... (2+ / 0-)

    fastest way to mitigating CO2 production.

    We can implement and build the exhaust processing faster than we can replace the power plant's capacity with Solar and Wind.

    Not that we should do both, but as we did with SO2 and Acid rain we can do with CO2 from the same power plants, and share the tech with China/India/EU/Russia.

    Using our military and economic might, the 1st world can put an end to the 3rd world slash/burn deforestation ... carrot $$$ to comply with ending deforestation, while stick ... we come kill your ass if you don't.

    Particulate pollution from our aircraft engines deliberately designed to block sunlight at the upper atmosphere, to mitigate warming while we move to reverse the CO2 pollution problem.

    Massive investment in Solar and Wind and Geothermal (at the building level for home heating) to shift away from oil.

    Massive investment in conversion to electric transportation at every level. This will involve huge upgrades to the electric power grid .... not stupid fucking "smart grid" idiot shit, BIGGER WIRES because converting to electric cars will vastly increase our electricity consumption ... all that gasoline energy we stop using has to be replaced by electricity.

    Since we are literally ALL GONNA DIE if this crisis isn't addressed, let me know when it is time to confront having to REMOVE Republicans from the equation entirely. At some point, between now and Earth-wide devastation, it will be required to put an end to denial and obstruction.

    •  No, sorry. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Jester
      Sequestering the Coal exhaust CO2 is still the
      fastest way to mitigating CO2 production.

      We can implement and build the exhaust processing faster than we can replace the power plant's capacity with Solar and Wind.

      It isn't.  Wind farms and solar panels are being installed at the rate of multiple megawatts per year, but Carbon Capture and Storage has been worked on for multiple years and it still isn't happening.  

      Carbon sequestration is hard and expensive, and still leaves the danger of coal mining and ash disposal.  Abandon coal, use the wind and the sun.  

      "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

      by Calamity Jean on Thu May 15, 2014 at 04:02:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  US electrical production from Coal/Gas (0+ / 0-)

        ... and I say Coal but I mean Coal/Gas/rubbish burning, 63% of total production ... is 3,100 Tera-Watt hours per year. There is no way Solar and Wind can replace that in 10years, while FIXING the EXHAUST from the current power plants has been PROVEN possible in that time frame using SO2 sequestering as an example.

        If we simultaneously implement switching to Electric transportation (as much as possible), we will need to add another 50% to that capacity.

        I do not understand the reluctance and resistance. If the burning of Coal and Gas no longer put CO2 into the atmosphere then WHO GIVES A SHIT how much you burn?

        Zero or 10X current use, it would be irrelevant to the atmosphere and climate.

        As I said, there is no reason not to do both, fix coal/gas and do everything we can with solar and wind.

    •  The best way to do CO2 sequester would be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Jester

      shifting away from large factory farming food production to local organic farming techniques. Petrochemical fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides burn the organic matter out of the soil. If we shifted to organic farming methods across America billions of tonnes of CO2 would again be sequestered in our soil.  

      Also, now that hemp production is legal in America again we should encourage our farmers to grow hemp as a normal rotation crop so that hemp could replace timber and petroleum as a raw material. Just about everything we now make from timber and petroleum can be made better, stronger, lighter weight, more durable and less expensive from hemp. Growing hemp would turn around deforestation so that we could actually see reforestation.

      We do need a smart grid and not just bigger wires because with decentralized green power production the grid needs to regulate power generation from multiple sources instead of just a hand few of very large generators.

      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

      by RMForbes on Thu May 15, 2014 at 06:04:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  All in favor of agricultural reform. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar

        On the "Smart Grid", that is just a pile of political BS, some words to snow people.

        I'm a Physicist and Engineer, the laws of physics are what they are, there is no magic. Materials engineering may make us some better long distance wires, and absolutely designing the power network to be redundant and more robust are fantastic idea we desperately need ... I'd like to see the entire power system moved underground to be less vulnerable to weather and disasters.

        But the hot air politicians bandy about is all just that. The local .. in YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD power grid is woefully under capacity if we are to convert to electric cars, etc. If more than 10% of your neighbors started using plugin electric cars, your wiring will melt.

        •  And I'm a computer technician (0+ / 0-)

          You are wrong to assume that we would need long distance transmission in the first place. If we had most every building in a community producing more power than they use we would need a smart switching system to even out the supply and demand and not long transmission lines.

          You are making an invalid assumption and misunderstanding the technical problem. You can't apply solutions from the centralized production model to a much more decentralized local system, they require completely different types of solutions. We are already seeing people that own electric vehicles charging them with their solar panels. Their electric car is just another energy storage system.

          Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

          by RMForbes on Thu May 15, 2014 at 10:16:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I remember learning this simple lesson... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, Calamity Jean

    as a child...from the magic box in our living room...

    ~

    ...you can pay me now...or you can pay me later.
    I guess we chose later.

    :7(

    We are not broke, we are being robbed. ~Shop Kos Katalogue~

    by Glen The Plumber on Thu May 15, 2014 at 01:22:57 PM PDT

  •  It may have the opposite effect (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, Calamity Jean

    Faced with such a gigantic cost, people may react with paralysis instead of action.

    It's sort of like saving for retirement: when so many people look at it they see that they cannot possibly save enough, and so they don't--they just put it out of mind because it's too hard to deal with.  They know it's a problem but do their best to ignore it. I fear the same will/is happen with dealing with climate change.  Especially once you start tossing figures around in the trillions.

  •  Green energy production also keeps money (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar

    circulating and produces more good living wage jobs in local communities instead sending hundreds of billions of our dollars to the oil cartels every year. Green energy makes so much sense on many levels.

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

    by RMForbes on Thu May 15, 2014 at 05:33:41 PM PDT

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