LASER TALK: Cutting carbon is cheaper than we realized

The conventional wisdom has always been that taking the necessary steps to reduce the threat of climate change will play havoc with the economy. In other words, we can cut carbon and stabilize our climate, or we can grow the global economy and thereby lift more people out of poverty and continue to enjoy our comfortable lifestyles. But we cannot do both at the same time.

That myth is now exploded.

According to the fifth report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, drastic action must be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the cost of that action is much smaller than anyone thinks.

While economic growth is between 1.6 percent and 3 percent a year, the report states that mitigation would slow that rate of growth only 0.06 percent a year.

The report does not factor in the positive impacts of mitigation, such as improved health from the reduction of air pollution. Nor does it factor in minimizing economic losses from the damage climate change causes. If these factors are taken into account, the cost of mitigating climate change is far cheaper than doing nothing.

The 2014 IPCC report showed that economic impact can no longer be used as an excuse to delay action that will cut greenhouse gases.



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