Last week’s climate conference in Lima ended with countries agreeing to a framework for setting national pledges to be submitted next year. Although viewed by some as a compromise, the Lima agreement sets the stage for a global deal when the Paris climate conference is held in 2015. How much investment would be needed to hold off the rise in earth’s temperature to a less polluting, generally accepted 2 degree Celsius range?
The International Energy Agency (IEA) tries to provide answers in a recent report which looks at investments needed in the energy sector to replace existing assets as well as for fresh assets to meet growing demand. The report outlines two different investment scenarios. The first is carbon-intensive and leads to 3.6 degree centigrade rise in earth’s temperature in the long-term, and the other is less polluting and manages to hold off rise in temperatures to within the 2 degree range. Under the first scenario, energy sector investments would total $48 trillion over 2014-35. But the less polluting scenario would require just 10% more or $53 trillion. These numbers are inflation adjusted for 2012.
The fundamental difference in both scenarios is where the money must be allocated. The less polluting scenario requires over a quarter of the money to be spent on increasing energy efficiency. On the other hand, the climatically damaging approach would require only one-sixth of total investments in efficiency measures. Noticeably, the share of investments in electricity generation from nuclear energy would need to shoot up fourfold from the current 3% if the mitigating scenario targets are to be met. This seems unlikely given the global crusade against nuclear energy.
Given the US-China climate deal and India’s position as the third largest carbon emitter in the world, all eyes are on India to make similar commitments to cut emissions. The international pressure increases when one considers that India, together with China, would be the biggest driver of the nearly $1 trillion expected to be invested in coal till 2035. The report estimates that India would need a minimum of $2.5 trillion in energy investments over the next two decades, and preventing catastrophic climate change would require another $700 billion. Worryingly, this additional sum is equal to the total energy investment made by India between 2000 and 2013.
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>