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Graph of the Day: Climate action is better for the economy

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Given that Australia’s federal election is all about the economy, and conflicting policies on climate change, a new posting by Skeptical Science is timely. It addresses they myth that CO2 limits will damage economic growth. It says that not making serious efforts to curb emissions will incur serious economic costs, a conclusion made by numerous studies, including Ross Garnaut’s, but one that has yet to register in the Australian political debate circa 2013.”

“It’s not unreasonable to expect that the effects of climate change will create greater economic instability worldwide,” Skeptical Science note in their post.The solution is, of course, to reduce fossil fuel use. One way to do this is to shift away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy sources. The other way is to reduce energy demands through increased efficiency.”

The article addresses the idea that imposing a price on carbon will damage economic prospects, but notes that in the upcoming fifth IPCC Assessment Report, a new set of scenarios called Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) will be used to illustrate the trajectories for economic performance under various emissions scenarios.

Here is the table:

Figure 1: GDP projections of the four scenarios underlying the RCPs (van Vuuren et.al. 2011). Grey area for income indicates the 98th and 90th percentiles (light/dark grey) of the IPCC AR4 database (Hanaoka et al. 2006). The dotted lines indicate four of the SRES marker scenarios.

“The graph of GDP clearly shows that the pathways that reduce emissions the most in that time frame (2.6 – green, and 4.5 – red) are those with the best long-term economic performance,” the posting notes. “In other words, the investment required to reduce emissions is repaid by increased economic performance. Business as usual strategies (high-emission scenarios RCP 6 and 8.5) are the least profitable; the money saved early on is dwarfed by the costs of damage and disruption done in the longer term.”

The rest of the article can be found here.

   

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