The normally conservative International Energy Agency is now saying that we must act faster to prevent climate change. Not only to prevent catastrophe, but also because the longer we wait, the more difficult and expensive it becomes to achieve the greater and greater cuts that are necessary to keep worldwide temperature rise to 2 degrees Centigrade or a 3.8 degrees Fahrenheit global average.
2 C is the least we can realistically hope and aim for now. This would be less disastrous than the 4 C or the completely catastrophic 6 C (10.8 F) average worldwide temperature rise we would headed for under a business-as-usual continuation of current overall trends in carbon emissions.
Faith Birol, the IEA Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency said that the world must speed up the reduction in fossil energy use and make a transition faster to clean renewable energy, not only because because of climate change but because of growing problems within our energy system and possible implications for the global economy.
A whistleblower from within the IEA already revealed this week that oil reserves figures had been inflated for years in response to pressure from the US.
Now it seems a new spirit of truth telling has arrived at the normally conservative IEA.
The agency has publicly estimated that to keep us within sight of a global average temperature rise of 2 C it will take $10 trillion in investment in renewable energy from now till 2030.
Every year of delay before switching to a 2 C emissions goal adds another $500 billion to that $10 trillion total global investment cost, the IEA study finds. In other words, the longer we put off a serious switch to renewable energy and efficiency, in the form of tough legislation; the more expensive it will be to fund the change.
The study does not include any calculation for the increasing cost of adaptation, based on whether earlier or later action is taken.
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