Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Price Tag for Saving Our Planet

Saving the Earth from global warming might cost a lot less in economic terms than many have contended. Here is the price: the loss of one year of economic growth over the next four decades. At least that is the price according to consultants at PricewaterhouseCoopers as reported in the Guardian. The goal would be to stabilize atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide at 450 parts per million by 2050, a level that many climatologists say would result in some climate change but not of catastrophic dimensions. If there is a catch it is that the effort would have to begin without delay. Of course, the obvious question is how could that happen with the White House being occupied by George W. Bush? My only answer is that it could possibly begin in 2009, a delay of about 3 years. In any event, the consultants contend that the combination of energy efficiency, more use of renewables, and capturing carbon would do the trick. Nuclear energy would not have to be part of the equation. The seven leading economic powers (G7) would take the lead in reducing emissions while countries that have only recently begun to take off economically (E7) such as China and India could have a modest increase in emissions.

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