Solid Waste & Recycling


IPCC says costs of inaction greater than inaction

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has finalized and released its latest findings.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has finalized and released its latest findings.

In Mitigation of Climate Change, the panel has found that there are severe climate risks if emission reductions are delayed. Additionally, the extent to which these risks can be avoided will depend upon the level of action taken in the next few decades. The report sets out a range of mitigation options including many that reduce energy costs.

While the IPCC report is a technical evaluation, not a policy recommendation, its clear that youll get more climate stabilization from investments in renewable energy and efficiency measures than wasting that money on nuclear power, said Jim Riccio, Greenpeace nuclear policy analyst in the U.S. Nuclear power is a money pit and we don’t have the time or financial resources to waste on a technology that has always promised more than it can deliver.

To address global warming, the global temperature increase must be kept well below 2 degrees Centigrade, meaning that global emissions must peak by 2015 and then come down rapidly to 50 percent below 1990 levels by mid-century. According to the report, stabilization between 450 and 550 ppm would cost from 0.2 percent to less than 3 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2030, or less than 0.1 percent per year. Figures for the cost of business-as-usual with no action are not given but according to the UK Governments Stern report from October 2006, it could be 5-10 percent of global GDP and under the worst case scenario it could rise to as much as 20 percent.

The projected costs of climate protection measures are far outweighed by the costs of escalating climate impacts under business-as-usual. The Greenpeace global energy scenario – the Energy [R]evolution shows that it is possible to achieve the necessary reduction targets using renewable energy sources and energy efficiency while still allowing for steady worldwide economic growth. The Greenpeace analysis based only on proven and sustainable technologies, excludes nuclear power and the use of carbon capture and storage.

As the IPCC points out the nuclear industry has still not solved the nuclear waste problem. And any expansion of nuclear carries with it the threat of a meltdown caused either by incompetence or ill will, said Riccio.

The next meeting of the United Nations climate change conference will be conducted in Indonesia this December and will be critical to the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol where governments must ensure that by 2009 there is a new set of legally binding commitments.

Contact in the U.S.:

Jane Kochersperger, 202-319-2493

For Greenpeaces energy blueprint:

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