Tags: Climate Change | united nations | global | warming | costs

UN: Climate Change Cost Could Reach Half-Trillion Dollars Per Year

By    |   Monday, 08 Dec 2014 10:40 PM

The annual cost of helping poor countries adapt to changes in weather and convert to "clean energy" will cost much more than the earlier estimates of $70 to $100 billion annually, United Nations officials say.

According to the United Nations Environment Program, those figures are "a significant underestimate." The actual cost, say officials attending climate talks in Lima, Peru, will be two to three times higher by 2050, possibly reaching $500 billion a year, the Associated Press reports.

Countries have agreed to spend $10 billion this year to fund climate change "adaptation efforts," with President Barack Obama pledging $3 billion of that total.

The $10 billion is slated to jump to $100 billion a year by 2010, according to Bloomberg’s Energy and Climate Report.

But the problem of how to pay for a ten-fold spending increase in the next six years has not been resolved. Officials said the fund "would draw on both private and public sources of finance, but the plans are still vague," the publication reported Monday.

As many activists in the developing world see it, financial support for the climate-change fund isn’t an act of international goodwill or an act of charity by the United States and other industrialized countries. As many at the Lima climate talks, it constitutes a form of "reparations" – money the West owes the poor countries, according to the left-wing U.S. group Democracy Now.

On Monday, Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, reporting from Lima, interviewed Saleemul Huq, identified as "a Bangladeshi climate scientist who is advising the bloc of least-developed countries in the climate negotiations."

Huq noted that at a previous conference, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had promised to create the $100 billion-a-year fund by 2020. But right now, he observed, participants were hard-pressed to collect $10 billion.

"We have a long way to go," he warned.

Goodman asked him what he would say if U.S. officials said they could not afford to pay for climate change: "Would you call it altruism – the U.S. helping poorer countries deal with climate change?"

"This [has] nothing to do with altruism," Huq replied. "This [has] to do with reparations from polluters. The United States has risen as an economic power based on emissions over the last 150 years that have caused the damage that we are now seeing. They recognize that, and they have taken on the obligation to help the poorer victims of the impacts of climate change that is caused by human-induced pollution. This is a pollution treaty, and it’s about polluters and victims of pollution."

Huq added that in his view, neither the United States nor China – who he referred to as "the biggest emitters" – were doing enough to mitigate the problem, Democracy Now reports.

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The annual cost of helping poor countries adapt to changes in weather and convert to "clean energy" will cost much more than the earlier estimates of $70 to $100 billion annually, United Nations officials say.
united nations, global, warming, costs
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2014-40-08
Monday, 08 Dec 2014 10:40 PM
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