According to a recent New York Times report, the U.N. says that a lag in confronting climate woes will be costly. It suggests that nations have so dragged their feet in battling climate change that the situation has grown critical and the risk of severe economic disruption is rising.
Another 15 years of failure to limit carbon emissions could make the problem virtually impossible to solve with current technologies, the experts found.
But…there’s a solution! (Yay). The article goes on to say:
”Delay would likely force future generations to develop the capability to suck greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and store them underground to preserve the livability of the planet…But it is not clear whether such technologies will ever exist at the necessary scale, and even if they do, the approach would likely be wildly expensive compared with taking steps now to slow emissions.” (Boo).
The report said that governments of the world were still spending far more money to subsidize fossil fuels than to accelerate the shift to cleaner energy, thus encouraging continued investment in projects like coal-burning power plants that posed a long-term climate risk.
The warnings come in a leaked draft report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations panel of climate experts.
In the dry language of a technical committee, the draft outlines an increasingly dire situation. When the final draft emerges, a major finding is expected to be that the food supply is at serious risk as warming continues.
Even as the early effects of climate change are starting to be felt around the world, the panel concluded that efforts are lagging not only in reducing emissions, but in adapting to the climatic changes that have become inevitable.
It is true, the report found, that the political willingness to tackle climate change is growing in many countries and new policies are spreading, but the report said these were essentially being outrun by the rapid growth of fossil fuels.
The report suggests, however, that the real question is whether to take some economic pain now, or more later.
If countries permit continued high emissions growth until 2030, the draft report found, the target will likely be impossible to meet, at least without a hugely expensive crash program to rebuild the energy system, and even that might not work.
If emissions do overshoot the target, the report found, future generations would likely have to develop ways to pull greenhouse gases out of the air. It is fairly clear this will be technically possible. Machinery might be developed that could directly extract greenhouse gases from the air; in fact, early work on such systems has begun. The plan is to sequester CO2 in underground caves.
Who would own these caves, I wonder? And who is going to pay for all this…and how? I’m willing to bet that Wall Street has it all figured out, and it ain’t gonna be the 1%.