by Michael Bastasch
A group of executives who want to fight global warming has published a new report calling for countries to spend up to $600 billion a year over the next two decades to boost green energy deployment and energy efficiency equipment.
The Energy Transitions Commission’s (ETC) report claims “additional investments of around $300-$600 billion per annum do not pose a major macroeconomic challenge,” which they say will help the world meet the goals laid out in the Paris agreement.
ETC is made up of energy executives, activist leaders and investment bankers, including former Vice President Al Gore, who would no doubt get a piece of the trillions of dollars they are calling for.
ETC’s goal is to “accelerate change towards low-carbon energy systems that enable robust economic development” and limit global warming. ETC’s report comes out as the Trump administration considers whether or not to stay party to the Paris agreement, which went into effect in 2016.
Trump has ordered Obama-era policies meant to comply with the Paris agreement be rolled back, but the White House is mulling whether or not to pull out of the agreement altogether. European countries and energy companies have been pressuring the White House to stay party to Paris.
Royal Dutch Shell, for example, aided the pro-Paris faction of the Trump administration by publicly supporting continued U.S. participation in the United Nations deal. Shell is a major producer of natural gas, which the company bills as a way to fight global warming.
Shell funds ETC, and the group’s report mainly targets emissions from coal use. ETC calls for “a rapid decrease in unabated coal consumption, a peak of oil in the 2020s and a continued role for gas provided methane leakages are reduced significantly.”
ETC says global carbon dioxide emissions need to be cut from 36 gigatons to 20 gigatons by 2040, and the world needs “net zero” emissions after 2050 to keep global temperatures from hitting 2 degrees Celsius by 2100.
To meet that goal ETC claims the world needs “investment in renewables and other low-carbon technologies some $6 trillion higher ($300 billion per year); while the largest required increases – of almost $9 trillion ($450 billion per year) – will be in more efficient energy saving equipment and buildings.”
That’s a $15 trillion price tag to theoretically limit future global warming.
ETC says fossil fuel investment would need to be cut $3.7 trillion over this time, and that’s on top of fundamentally altering their economic systems to make green energy cost-competitive with fossil fuels in some parts of the world by 2035.
The group says an “explicit, predictably rising, forward price curve for carbon, resulting from policy, reaching approximately $50 per tonne in the 2020s and rising to around $100 per tonne in the 2030s – is essential to drive decarbonization beyond power, to reinforce regulatory-driven improvements in energy productivity and to prevent falling fossil fuels prices from undermining the pace of the energy transition.”
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