01 October 2006

Paying the Price

Nice piece in The Independent about a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers on the cost of capping greenhouse emissions:

The cost of curbing the soaring emissions of harmful gases that are blamed for causing global warming has been estimated at $1 trillion by a major study of the cost of climate change.

The volume of emissions of the gases that cause global warming will double by 2050 unless rich countries agree to take significant policy steps to cut energy use, it shows.

The report, byPricewaterhouseCoopers, lays bare the potential damage to the environment of the industrial revolution in China and India. It puts a price of $1 trillion (£526bn) on the cost of sorting out the problem spread over the next generation. The bill is equivalent to a year's output of the economy of Canada, and less than half of the total stock of debt that has been built up by Britain's households. But it is less than the cost in terms of environmental catastrophe and loss of life that scientists fear will happen as temperatures and sea levels rise. "It is implicit from our findings that a trillion dollars certainly is a cost worth incurring," said John Hawksworth, the chief economist at PwC and author of the report.

As the surprisingly intelligent thread on Digg points out, these figures are amazingly doable. For example, one trillion dollars is only three times the current spending on the war in Iraq. Similarly, it is only 40 times the cost of one small global-warming induced weather disaster, that caused by Katrina. There are going to be rather more than 40 Katrinas if things carry on as they are.

What's most heartening about this report is that a terribly respectable outfit like PricewaterhouseCoopers is taking the exercise seriously. This is what we in the trade call a Good Sign: it means those in power are starting to realise that it will actually be cheaper to prevent rather than cure. And once the rich get behind moves to preserve this particular commons, we are almost there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are right.All the wars back to the Crusades Have been commenced on spurious information and persuasion resulting in terrible loss of life, injuries and squandering of national wealth.p