Davos Report Calls For Additional $14 Trillion To Restrain Global Warming

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

The world must spend an additional $14 trillion on clean energy infrastructure, low-carbon transport and energy efficiency to meet the United Nations´ goal for capping the rise in average global temperatures, according to a World Economic Forum report released on Monday.

The extra spending amounts to about $700 billion per year through 2030, and would provide economic stimulus along with reducing the costs associated with global warming over the long haul, said former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, chairman of the Davos-commissioned Green Growth Action Alliance, which compiled the study on behalf of the WEF.

“It is clear that we are facing a climate crisis with potentially devastating impacts on the global economy,” wrote Calderon in a forward to the report.

“Greening global economic growth is the only way to satisfy the needs of today’s population and up to 9 billion people by 2050, driving development and wellbeing while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing natural resource productivity.”

“Economic growth and sustainability are inter-dependent, you cannot have one without the other, and greening investment is the pre-requisite to realizing both goals,” said Calderon, who ended his six-year term as Mexican President in November.

The $700 billion in annual spending called for by the Alliance is in addition to the $5 trillion per year countries must spend on infrastructure for agriculture, transport, power and water through 2020, according to the report.

“There remains a considerable shortfall in investment. Closing this gap is our collective task and one that we cannot afford to fail,” Calderon said.

“This development needs to be greened by re-evaluating investment priorities.”

The World Bank says the planet is on pace to warm by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) this century — twice the level considered safe by UN scientists.

To restrain global warming, governments must use public funds to leverage as much as five times the amount in private investment in clean technologies, wrote the consultant Accenture PLC, which authored the Alliance report.

“The G20 governments must accelerate the phasing-out of fossil-fuel subsidies, enact long-term carbon price signals, enable greater free trade in green technologies, and expand investment in climate adaptation,” the report read.

The authors of the report note that a $36 billion annual increase in global public spending to slow climate change is less than the estimated $50 billion in damages caused by Superstorm Sandy, which ravaged the eastern U.S. in October

A $36 billion increase in state spending, from $90 billion per year to $126 billion a year, could generate as much as $570 billion from private investors, the report read.

The Green Growth Action Alliance is a public and private coalition of more than 50 financial institutions, companies, governments and non-governmental organizations. Its members include General Electric´s energy division, HSBC Holdings and Morgan Stanley. The group was launched last year at a Group of 20 meeting in Mexico, and is coordinated by the WEF.

The Alliance´s full report can be viewed here.

Additional information can be found at the website of the WEF´s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, which is taking place this week through January 27.