World Bank: Hundreds of Billions USD Needed Yearly to Fight Climate Change
Photo via Blue Living Ideas
The World Bank has determined that climate change is deterring growth in developing countries, and that action must be taken immediately. Its World Development Report finds that there must be a "rapid scaling up of spending of clean energy research," as well as protective measures for threatened developing nations. In other words, it's time for rich nations to start seriously spending to fight climate change.And while the costs may seem exorbitant now, its well known that it will be cheaper to take action against climate change now than to cope with it once it reaches catastrophic levels. The BBC reports:
Even a warming of 2C (3.6F) - the G8's target - could reduce GDP in poor nations, the report concludes. The bank urges governments to conclude an "equitable deal" at December's UN climate summit in Copenhagen. That "equitable deal" should involve industrialised countries paying for the damage that their historical emissions have caused and will cause in poorer parts of the world, it suggests.Which is of course a highly controversial concept, and one that rich nations like the US have repeatedly been disinclined to accept--as hard to argue against as it may be. The fact that we've been historically responsible for the lion's share of the world's pollution--pollution that's now causing an adverse effect on developing nations' economies--seems to be reason enough to be morally obligated to help such nations develop sustainably.
A key part of the report shows that climate change is drastically dampening developing countries' GDP, and will worsen over time. Aid will be needed to help such nations--like many drought-prone African nations, for example--to find ways to speed their development without excessive use of dirty fuels.
Costs of Climate Action
But it won't come cheap. While many nations balk at the premise itself, other will surely balk at the price tag. Here are the costs of fighting climate change, via the BBC:
"The full financing package that the bank believes is likely to be needed annually by 2030" are:
- $75bn to help poorer nations adapt to, or protect themselves against, climate impacts
- $400bn for mitigation - reducing emissions - in the developing world
- hundreds of billions for energy research and development
Which are obviously large sums. But it's money well spent--helping the developing world grow in a low-emissions, sustainable way is integral to preventing the worst of climate change. We'll have to wait and see in Copenhagen this December if rich countries will be willing to shell out the necessary funding to keep not only the climate, but the world economies, stable.