Friday, October 13, 2006

There's gold in them thar global warming

I suppose it would be nice if everyone would take up the challenge of combatting global warming just because it's obviously the right thing to do, but I'll be happy if they get into it just for the money.

A study by the Global Development and Environment Institute of Tufts University said that failing to act now to reduce global warming could end up costing trillions of dollars per year by the end of the century. By contrast, spending a tenth of that today to limit the future rise in global temperatures to less two degrees could cut that in half. The good news – there’s still time to act and make a meaningful difference. The bad news: due to our inaction to date, we may end up spending 3-4% of total world economic output on the consequences.

Still, studies like this may help galvanize the movers and shakers of the world, who tend to see things more clearly when there’s a price tag attached.

Speaking of seeing clearly, environmental voices have been saying for a decade that fighting global warming can be an economic boon for any country that engages in the battle, creating new technologies, new jobs, and new wealth. The day before the study was published, Shell Oil came out with a statement that climate change represented a billions-of-dollars opportunity for businesses due to the demand for products and services aimed at reducing carbon emissions. And this from their web site: “Shell is a global group of oil, gas and petrochemical companies with a broad portfolio of hydrogen, biofuels, wind and solar power interests. Our aim is to meet the energy needs of society, in ways that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.”

Hopefully, they’ll put their money where their mouth is.

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