Fossil fuel emissions must end this century, warns OECD

climate change warming 4 degree celsius
Screen capture David Roberts

Well, the climate change denying conspiracy theorists are not going to like this!

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has come out with a strong warning that humans must eliminate fossil fuel emissions by the second half of this century to avoid economic catastrophe. This isn't anything we didn't already know, but the OECD is a well-respected organization of 34 industrial countries, including the United States, and is known for advancing market-based solutions. Which is to say, this is no small deal to see the OECD making this announcement.

Nina Chestney for Reuters reports:

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria acknowledged that climate change had serious economic consequences that could not be ignored.

He said simply reducing emissions would not be enough to lower the economic costs because carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere.

Sixty percent of every ton of CO2 emitted now will still be in the atmosphere 20 years from now and 45 percent 100 years from now, he said, citing a scientific report this year from several universities and research centers around the world.

"We need to achieve zero emissions from fossil fuel sources by the second half of the century," Gurria told reporters at a briefing in London.

"That doesn't mean by 2050 exactly but it means by that time we need to be pretty much on the way to achieving it," he said.

"This is worse than a debt because there is no bailout and if you have two or three good budget years a debt can be reduced, but emissions hang around for 100 years," he said.

What market-based solution does the OECD recommend?

We need a "big, fat price on carbon", says OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria.

IMAGE: Image from David Roberts' TED Talk on what projected temperature increases would mean for humanity. via Everything You Need to Know to Convincingly Argue in Favor of Climate Action in 15 Minutes

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