One of the contentious issues at Copenhagen is how much money to give to the developing world to help avert the sharp rise in carbon emissions expected in the about-to-industrialize countries. The funds are to come from the developed world, and this fund is generally framed in the US media (and not just by Glen Beck), as a giveaway. The New York Times puts it like this: Climate Deal Likely to Bear Big Price Tag.
“The money would be used to help developing nations reduce emissions by switching to renewable energy sources like wind and solar and by compensating landowners for not cutting down or burning forests, a major source of carbon dioxide emissions.
Other funds might be used to adjust to effects of a changing climate, like rising sea levels, by building flood walls or relocating settlements to higher ground.”
Is this a “big cost”? Actually, no. This is an investment in solar, and wind, and even flood wall businesses. The real beneficiaries are the countries whose renewable energy businesses will grow from this investment. A more appropriate headline might be: Climate Deal Likely to Bring Big Boom to Renewable Sector.
How much might they benefit? Two think tanks, San Francisco-based ClimateWorks and The EU’s Project Catalyst; whose work has helped shape the negotiations in Copenhagen estimate that this investment globally will amount to about $100 billion by 2020. Just from this assistance fund.
About half the funds would be generated by cap and trade. The Waxman-Markey climate bill in the House, which carved out part of the funds created by cap and trade to pay for this “investment in the developing world”, could only get an upper limit of $8 billion by 2030, with the highest ratio of Democrats to Republicans (America’s Fossil Party) that congress has; so the Senate will likely not be able to do better than that.
In the absence of sensible legislation from a stalemated congress, President Obama has gone and made some unilateral deals of his own with the two largest of these renewable investment opportunities: China and India.
But, even without US participation, the European Trading System, has a growing global market in carbon emissions credits. Europe’s cap and trade market is expected to be generating $2 trillion a year by 2020.
EU-based renewable energy companies are already far ahead of their US counterparts thanks to European cap and trade that grew out of its signing of Kyoto in 1997. Without US participation; the funding for this developing world “assistance” will help further grow solar and wind and flood wall companies from Europe.
Every government in the developed world should be beating down the doors for this $100 billion opportunity to build its green job base, rather than letting tiny NGOs like SELF flounder along looking for bake-sale level charity to fund its work.
Source: The New York Times
Susan Kraemer writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate and GreenProphet and has been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design she brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention: solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times. Follow Susan @dotcommodity on twitter.