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23 Dec 2008 05:12:09

High initial investment needed to avoid dangerous climate change

High initial investment needed to avoid dangerous climate change
High initial investments are required to prevent dangerous climate change but if these are provided, it could be easier to avoid global temperatures rising by two degrees Celsius, according to a new report.

An investment of two per cent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) between 2005 and 2100 would increase the chance of keeping global warming from crossing the two degrees Celsius threshold by 90 per cent, said scientists in Netherlands and Germany.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, claims that small investments will be inefficient, with an investment of just 0.5 per cent of world GDP would create just a ten per cent chance of keeping temperatures from rising beyond the tipping point.

"In a sense ... our paper is bad news: doing a bit is hardly effective," Michiel Schaeffer of Wageningen University in the Netherlands and lead author of the study told Reuters.

"On the other hand it's good news, because the return on the really 'painful' investments later on, of which the world is so afraid, gives you much better returns."

Meanwhile, the Guardian's Duncan Clark points out that the Committee on Climate Change's report did not make the most of a scenario which had a higher likelihood of avoiding the two degrees Celsius rise than the one it presented.

Its own technical appendices reveal it examined a scenario in which, after peaking in 2014, global emissions were reduced by three per cent a year and passing the threshold was avoided.

However, this projection was not highlighted in the report.



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