As the Stern report concluded in its extensive study on the math of climate change in 2006, the economic costs of doing nothing to curb our human contribution will be higher than the cost of preventative steps needed. The Stern commission estimated then that the negative impacts of global warming could cost the world as much as 20 percent of economic output, compared with the 1 percent cost of proactive steps to contain the problem. A new UN report this week comes to a similar finding, see Climate Protection may cut world GDP 4% by 2030, Un says:
The cost of holding rising temperatures to safe levels may reach 4 percent of economic output by 2030, according to a draft United Nations report designed to influence efforts to draft a global-warming treaty.
Most scenarios that meet the 2-degree Celsius (3.6-degree Fahrenheit) cap on global warming endorsed by world leaders require a 40 percent to 70 percent reduction in heat-trapping gases by 2050 from 2010 levels, according to the third installment of the UN’s biggest-ever study of climate change. The world would need to triple the share of renewables, nuclear power and carbon-capture and storage to meet that goal.
We are already paying the costs of inaction today all over the planet through increasing hardship, waste and environmental adversity. And its not just issues of temperature change that are a factor here (yes, yes, I know, some readers don’t believe the earth is warming). Degrading air quality is a huge cost to global health and function. Just ask China how good it is for business to have repeated “stay-in-door” days thanks to intolerable air pollution. See: North China smog prompts second-day warnings to stay indoors. Anyone for proactive steps rather than just suffering the consequences and treating the illnesses?