LOMBORG: COP21 FAILS TO DEAL WITH 99% OF CLIMATE CHANGE
- Paris will likely be the world’s most expensive treaty ever at a costs of at least $1 trillion a year
- $100bn in climate aid is a very poor use of money
- Without technological breakthroughs, large carbon cuts will remain hugely expensive
- Gates-led innovation fund is best initiative to emerge from Paris
- Green R&D needs to be increased 10-fold to $100 billion per year
“The Paris Treaty promises to keep temperature rises below 2°C. However, the actual promises made here will do almost nothing to achieve that. It is widely accepted that to keep temperature rises below 2°C, we have to reduce CO₂ emissions by 6,000Gt.
“The UNFCCC estimates that if every country makes every single promised Paris Treaty carbon cut between 2016 and 2030 to the fullest extent possible and there is no carbon leakage, CO₂ emissions will be cut by 56 Gt by 2030.
“The math is simple: in an implausibly optimistic best-case scenario, Paris leaves 99% of the problem in place.
“To say that Paris will get us to "well below 2°C" is cynical posturing at best. It relies on wishful thinking.
“It’s like going on a diet to slim down, but declaring victory after the first salad.
Paris will be extraordinarily costly. It is likely this is the most expensive treaty in the history of the world.
“Using the best individual and collectively peer-reviewed energy-economic models, the total cost of Paris – through slower GDP growth from higher energy costs – will reach $1-2 trillion every year from 2030.
“We owe the world much more – both in terms of tackling climate change better, and in spending resources smarter.
“The best thing to come out of Paris was the announcement of the Bill Gates-led green energy innovation fund together with private individuals, and governments including Australia, U.S.A, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, South Korea, and U.A.E. This is an excellent initiative. I have argued for greater spending on R&D for a decade. Even more funding is needed, the Gates-led fund is what is really going to make a difference to the climate.
“Until there is a breakthrough that makes green energy competitive on its own merits, massive carbon cuts are extremely unlikely to happen.
“Claims that carbon cuts will be free or even generate economic growth don’t stack up given today’s technology. Every economic model shows real costs. If not, we wouldn’t need the Paris treaty: every nation would stampede to voluntarily cut CO₂ and get rich.
“The agreement to spend $100bn on climate aid is a poor way to help the developing world. Their citizens clearly say, this is their lowest policy priority and climate aid provided by handing out solar panels has meager benefits compared with the many better, cheaper ways to help, like investing in immunization, girls’ education, and family planning. While billions lack food, health, water and education, distributing solar panels is simply immoral.
“The Gates innovation push is great news and the only way we can start tackling the 99% of the climate problem not addressed by Paris.
“After Paris, I will be advocating for an even greater investment in green energy research and development. Funding in the region of $100 billion annually is what is needed.”
Dr. Bjorn Lomborg is President of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and Visiting Professor at Copenhagen Business School. He researches the smartest ways to help the world, for which he numerous times has been named one of Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers. His many books include The Skeptical Environmentalist, Cool It, How to Spend $75 Billion to Make the World a Better Place and The Nobel Laureates' Guide to the Smartest Targets for the World 2016-2030.