Bloomberg: Global Warming Can Be Kept in Check, UN Panel Says (Update2)
By Alex Morales
May 4 (Bloomberg) -- Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can be kept at levels that avoid the worst ravages of global warming by using available technologies and strategies, an international panel said.
Keeping concentrations of gases at levels similar to those in the air today will cost less than 3 percent of world economic output by 2030, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said today in its third report of the year.
``The key message is that we can keep the climate safe and we can do that with currently available technologies at a cost that is almost negligible,'' said Hans Verolme, head of the World Wildlife Fund's climate change campaign, in an interview in Bangkok today. ``We don't need to wait for a silver bullet.''
The final report, debated line-by-line by government envoys from more than 120 nations meeting in Bangkok, was handed to reporters before a press conference scheduled for 1 p.m. today.
Formal talks among country officials continued until about 3 a.m. this morning, final corrections were completed soon after dawn and the final report was approved at about 11 a.m., said Michael Williams, a spokesman for the United Nations Environment Programme, one of the panel's parent groups.
Current atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are about 425 parts per million (ppm) and rising. Stabilizing greenhouse gases at 445 ppm may hold increases in global temperature since industrialization at 2 degrees Celsius, according to the report. That's the level beyond which the European Union has said the impact on climate change, such as droughts, extinctions and storms, may become dangerous and irreversible.
To achieve stabilization at that level, emissions must peak by 2015 and then decline by 50 percent to 85 percent by 2050, the panel said. Global average temperatures have risen 0.76 of a degree already.
The report also says that stabilization of greenhouse gases can be achieved by changing the energy mix used around the world, by introducing more fuel-efficient vehicles and appliances, improving home insulation and changing the way agricultural land is managed.
Another tool available to government is carbon trading. Establishing a price equal to $50 per ton of carbon dioxide could reduce emissions by more than half and a price of $100 could achieve a 63 percent cut, according to the document.
Under carbon trading, companies are set emission targets. If they undershoot those targets they're able to sell credits to other businesses that are unable to meet their targets.
Emissions of carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas, are projected to rise by as much as 110 percent by 2030 if no action is taken to minimize them, the panel said. Scientists have linked the gas, produced by burning fossil fuels, to climate change. Higher emissions lead to higher temperatures, they say.
``With current climate change mitigation policies and related sustainable development practices, global greenhouse gas emissions will continue to grow,'' the panel said. ``Mitigation efforts