Friday, June 6, 2008

The Fight Against Global Warming Will Be Expensive

Fighting global warming is going to be expensive. I think we all knew that, but now a new study from the International Energy Association illustrates just exactly how expensive.

In order to reduce green house gases in the atmosphere fifty percent by 2050, the world needs to invest some $45 trillion, build 1400 nuclear power plants, and vastly expand wind power initiatives. The report outlines two scenarios: one that reduces greenhouse gases to the same levels as 2005 and one that reduces them to half that level. The results also assume an average 3.3% global economic growth rate through 2050.

The second scenario, trying to reach half the levels of 2005, would require that 35 coal-fired and 20 gas-fired power plants be fitted with carbon capture and storage technology every year between 2010 and 2050. In addition, to keep up with increasing demand, the world would have to construct 32 new nuclear power plants and 17,000 new wind turbines every year during the same period. We'd also have to find a way to reduce the carbon intensity—the amount of carbon needed to produce a unit of energy—of our transportation sectors.

Failure to act, the IEA says, will result in doubling of energy demand and a 130% increase in CO2 emissions by 2050.