Limiting greenhouse gas emissions globally over the next 15 years is both economically feasible and likely to save money, according to a new report from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. Between 2015 and 2030, nations are expected to invest roughly $90 trillion in urban, land-use and energy infrastructure, the analysis estimated.
Steering those investments toward renewable energy, efficiency improvements, and other low-emission technologies would make that global investment more costly, the panel of government and business leaders conceded — but only marginally, adding about $4 trillion overall. But these costs could eventually be offset by the lowered operating costs associated with renewable power, the report suggested.
Although they are difficult to quantify, health care savings associated with improved air quality would also offset costs. According to the report, the biggest challenges for governments will be enacting stronger rules and economic policies that favor low-carbon development, such as cutting the $600 billion that countries currently spend on fossil fuel subsidies.
The report highlights the plunging costs of renewable energy — solar technology costs have been cut in half since 2010, for example — and argues that limiting urban sprawl and deforestation are essential steps in combating climate change.