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Monday, 07 January 2013

Delayed action raises costs of climate change

An agreement by almost 200 nations to curb rising greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 will be far more costly than taking action now to tackle climate change, a new report says.
Quick measures to cut emissions would give a far better chance of keeping global warming within an agreed UN limit of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times to avert more floods, heatwaves, droughts and rising sea levels.
"If you delay action by 10, 20 years you significantly reduce the chances of meeting the 2o target," said Keywan Riahi, one of the authors of the report at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria.
"It was generally known that costs increase when you delay action. It was not clear how quickly they change," he told Reuters on Wednesday (2 January) of the findings in the science journal Nature Climate Change based on 500 computer-generated scenarios.
The study indicated that an immediate global price of €15 a tonne on emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, would give a roughly 60% chance of limiting warming to below 2o.
Wait until 2020 and the carbon price would have to be around €75 a tonne to retain that 60% chance, Riahi told.
Governments agreed to the 2o limit in 2010, viewing it as a threshold to avert dangerous climate change. Temperatures have already risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius since wide use of fossil fuels began 200 years ago.

Source: Euractiv