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.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.
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.
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.