UN Panel: Cost to Fight Climate Change Still 'Modest'

But only if the world acts soon, experts say

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 13, 2014 1:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – The cost of keeping global warming in check is "relatively modest," but only if the world acts quickly to reverse the buildup of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, the head of the UN's expert panel on climate change said today. Such gases, mainly CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, rose on average by 2.2% a year in 2000-2010, driven by the use of coal in the power sector, officials said as they launched the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change's report on measures to fight global warming. Without additional measures to contain emissions, global temperatures will rise about 5 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 compared to current levels, the panel said.

"The longer we delay the higher would be the cost," IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri said after the panel's weeklong session in Berlin. "But despite that ... the cost is not something that's going to bring about a major disruption of economic systems." The IPCC, an international body assessing climate science, projected that shifting the energy system from fossil fuels to zero- or low-carbon sources including wind and solar power would reduce consumption growth by about 0.06% per year, adding that that didn't take into account the economic benefits of reduced climate change. "The loss in consumption is relatively modest," Pachauri said. Click for more on the story.

In this Feb. 25, 2008 file photo the tower of a church is pictured between the smoke billowing chimneys of the brown coal power plant Frimmersdorf in Grevenbroich near Duesseldorf, Germany.
In this Feb. 25, 2008 file photo the tower of a church is pictured between the smoke billowing chimneys of the brown coal power plant Frimmersdorf in Grevenbroich near Duesseldorf, Germany.   (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
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