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Author Topic: The Cost to Mitigate Climate Change  (Read 2075 times)

Sigmetnow

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The Cost to Mitigate Climate Change
« on: May 29, 2017, 04:13:24 PM »
There are many methods of reducing greenhouse gasses.  Some are inexpensive but don't do much.  Some will generate major cost savings.  This study compares abatement potential versus cost.

How much will it cost to mitigate climate change?
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What is an ‘abatement cost curve’?

An abatement cost curve measures two key variables, as shown on McKinsey&Company’s chart below: abatement potential and the cost of abatement.

‘Abatement potential’ is the term we use to describe the magnitude of potential GHG reductions which could be technologically and economically feasible to achieve. We measure this in tonnes (or thousand/million/billion tonnes) of greenhouse gases (which is abbreviated as carbon dioxide equivalents, or CO2e). Note that our measure of CO2e includes all greenhouse gases, not just CO2.2 So, on the x-axis we have the abatement potential of our range of options for reducing our GHG emissions; here, each bar represents a specific technology or practice.3 The thicker the bar, the greater its potential for reducing emissions.
https://ourworldindata.org/how-much-will-it-cost-to-mitigate-climate-change/
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wili

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Re: The Cost to Mitigate Climate Change
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2017, 05:07:47 PM »
Actually, it costs nothing to not do something, and that's what we mostly have to 'do':

stop flying
stop (or greatly reduce) meat and dairy eating
stop (or greatly reduce) car driving
stop (or greatly reduce) the amount you artificially cool or heat your home
stop buying useless crap
stop having a lawn...

But these essential measures hardly ever get discussed
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

rboyd

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Re: The Cost to Mitigate Climate Change
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2017, 05:57:24 PM »
The problem is that we have an economy based upon the exponentially growing consumption of stuff, together with a massive level of indebtedness that requires continuous growth to keep paying the interest, and massive amounts of current wealth that people assume will be there (e.g. pension funds) that depend on continued exponential growth. That's why all the official forecasts assume continued economic growth with the cost of mitigation subtracted from that growth.

The reality is that to get deep enough reductions in emissions in the short term (even assuming some level of atmospheric carbon removal in the future) of say 6% per year (see the Hansen paper below) we need to cut consumption. Technology by itself won't do it.

In a reasonable, relatively equitable world, it would be agreed that the short-term challenges should be shared rather than forced upon the least fortunate (unemployed stuff makers, transporters and sellers together with those employed in supporting industries). That's where concepts of a minimum income, which is easily affordable in the rich countries, comes in and "Quantitative Easing for the Masses" (rather than the financiers).

Also, the "war-effort" type government programs to reorient people to making renewables and sustainable stuff, together with getting rid of the ridiculously wasteful activities (military procurement boondoggles, the rentier profits made by the financial system, monopoly pharma profits, property speculation, replacing stuff that still works etc.) that eat up so much of the current economy. In an unreasonable world, any significant cuts to consumption will trigger a financial and economic crash with the worst effects visited upon the poorest of the population.

In the meantime, the UN IPCC assumes massive amounts of atmospheric carbon removal in the future so that we don't have to face the reality of the significant cuts required in the present. This s the "debt" that Hansen talks about, having future generations pay the bill - assuming that it will be possible to pay the bill by then.

http://www.earth-syst-dynam-discuss.net/esd-2016-42/esd-2016-42.pdf


Sigmetnow

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Re: The Cost to Mitigate Climate Change
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2017, 07:00:10 PM »
Actually, it costs nothing to not do something, and that's what we mostly have to 'do':

stop flying
stop (or greatly reduce) meat and dairy eating
stop (or greatly reduce) car driving
stop (or greatly reduce) the amount you artificially cool or heat your home
stop buying useless crap
stop having a lawn...

But these essential measures hardly ever get discussed

Definitely cost-saving!  :)
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Cost to Mitigate Climate Change
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2017, 09:26:57 PM »
I'm not buying into that cost graph.  Wind and solar more expensive than nuclear?

Wind and solar are going to show up on the (-) side.  They will bring down the cost of generating electricity.  They are already forcing more expensive, paid off coal and nuclear out of service.

There may well be no PHEVs by 2030.  And EVs should show up on the (-) side as they should be cheaper to purchase than ICEVs well before 2030.  They are already much cheaper to operate.

Coal/CCS?  Shirley, you jest.

josh-j

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Re: The Cost to Mitigate Climate Change
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2017, 09:40:05 PM »
Wili and Rboyd are spot on in my opinion. This graph only represents technological solutions, and I am not convinced technical measures alone are enough. In fact it seems to me that technical measures are far from enough, and what we really need is a restructure of the way the economy works so that it doesn't require constant growth.

That said this is still important and we need all the solutions we can get. It just seems as though there should be another huge bar in the graph representing efficiency not in technical products, but in how we actually buy and use things in the first place. Efficiency savings through not producing and trading millions of plastic bottles filled with water, through sitting under electric heaters in cold weather outside bars, through structuring society in a way that means people have to commute long distances in polluting vehicles to get to work, and on and on and.....

wili

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Re: The Cost to Mitigate Climate Change
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2017, 09:44:39 PM »
Nice points, josh

And how about not wasting about a third of all foodstuff (1/2 of all produce)!?

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/07/american-food-waste/491513/

Bob--I have a sneaking suspicion that nuke those nuke costs did not include evacuation etc from Fuku and others, much less inevitable future such expenses... ::)
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Cost to Mitigate Climate Change
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2017, 09:48:42 PM »
Wili and Rboyd are spot on in my opinion. This graph only represents technological solutions, and I am not convinced technical measures alone are enough. In fact it seems to me that technical measures are far from enough, and what we really need is a restructure of the way the economy works so that it doesn't require constant growth.

That said this is still important and we need all the solutions we can get. It just seems as though there should be another huge bar in the graph representing efficiency not in technical products, but in how we actually buy and use things in the first place. Efficiency savings through not producing and trading millions of plastic bottles filled with water, through sitting under electric heaters in cold weather outside bars, through structuring society in a way that means people have to commute long distances in polluting vehicles to get to work, and on and on and.....

We can 'tolerate' growth as long as the inputs (materials and energy) are sustainable.

Efficiency will make it easier to operate within the constraints of sustainability.

We can sit under heaters outside in the cold as long as the electricity comes from renewable sources.  We do need to make sure that we don't do a lot of sitting under outside heaters until we've swapped out  (almost) all fossil fuel generation.

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Cost to Mitigate Climate Change
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2017, 09:50:33 PM »
Nice points, josh

And how about not wasting about a third of all foodstuff (1/2 of all produce)!?

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/07/american-food-waste/491513/

Bob--I have a sneaking suspicion that nuke those nuke costs did not include evacuation etc from Fuku and others, much less inevitable future such expenses... ::)

Nuclear costs are typically understated.  Factor in the cost of storing highly dangerous radioactive waste for tens of thousands of years. 

Sigmetnow

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Re: The Cost to Mitigate Climate Change
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2017, 04:42:13 PM »
“Why should California, Wyoming or Utah be paying the price for Houston, Mississippi or Alabama failing to enforce the National Flood Insurance Program?”

Rethinking the ‘Infrastructure’ Discussion Amid a Blitz of Hurricanes
Several experts on climate and resilience talk about the role of government. “Viewed correctly, sensible safeguards are part of freedom, not a retreat from it.”
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In a warming climate, scientists see increasing potential for epic deluges like the one that swamped Houston and last year’s devastating rains around Baton Rouge, Louisiana. How can the federal government more responsibly manage such environmental threats?

Many people point to the National Flood Insurance Program, which was created to boost financial resilience in flood zones, but has been criticized from just about every political and technical vantage point as too often working to subsidize, instead of mitigate, vulnerability.
...

After a terrible storm, he said, most Americans are willing to cheer a government that helps communities recuperate. But people should also embrace the side of government that establishes rules to avoid risk and make us safer. That’s harder, he said, because such edicts can be perceived by some as impinging on personal freedom.

“But viewed correctly, sensible safeguards are part of freedom, not a retreat from it,” he said. “Freedom is having a home you can return to after the storm. Freedom is having a bridge high enough to get you to the hospital across the river. Freedom is not having your house surrounded by contaminated mud because the berm at the neighboring chemical plant failed overnight.” ...
https://www.propublica.org/article/rethinking-the-infrastructure-discussion-amid-a-blitz-of-hurricanes
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Sigmetnow

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Re: The Cost to Mitigate Climate Change
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2017, 10:13:46 PM »
Cross-posted from the Hurricane 2017 thread.  While not limited to mitigation, it examines many of different sources of funding for climate disaster recovery in the U.S.


Hurricanes Irma and Harvey have racked up billions in damages. Who pays?
Quote
Who will pick up the tab in Florida, Georgia and Texas?

That's the big question, now that flood waters from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey have receded. Left behind is damage that Moody's Analytics expects will exceed $150 billion, on par with the cost of Hurricane Katrina.

After any major natural disaster, a patchwork of public and private actors step up to cover costs. Payouts from insurers, along with a miscellany of local, state and federal aid programs, will help those affected to pay for rebuilding.

Still, not everyone will be made whole again.

"Individuals will have to use some of their own resources, too," said Shahid Hamid, a professor of finance at Florida International University's College of Business. "Those who can afford it."

Here's a look at who's footing the bill. ...
http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/15/news/economy/irma-harvey-damage-who-pays/index.html
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Bob Wallace

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Re: The Cost to Mitigate Climate Change
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2017, 11:23:17 PM »
It's time to adjust our flood insurance programs so that in the not too distant future we won't insure or assist those who build in the 500 (or longer) floodplain.

Start with those who are in the 100 year floodplain.  Tell them that they aren't personally totally responsible for rising seas, increased storm surges and monster rains.  We'll bail them out once.

Tell them that if they are smart they'll take their insurance money and move to higher ground.  If they stay in the floodplain then next event they will be totally on their own.

We might even want to sweeten up the pot if they do choose to build above the 1,000 year floodplain.   And they build to "hurricane resistant" building code levels.

Let's take the areas that are going to be flooded more frequently in the future and use them for agriculture, recreation or wildlife.

Sigmetnow

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Re: The Cost to Mitigate Climate Change
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2017, 12:31:00 AM »
Indeed.  Raising your house a few feet won't mean much when your roads are impassible due to flooding, drainage no longer works, and stores, gas stations, and everyone else has moved away.
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