IEA puts $500bn a year cost on Copenhagen failure

November 12, 2009 at 12:16 PM Leave a comment

Each year of delay in cementing a global post-2012 climate deal will add $500 billion to the cost of the low-carbon energy revolution, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned.

As international negotiators seek to manage expectations that the UN climate talks this December will result in a finalised Copenhagen protocol or treaty, the IEA said in its World Energy Outlook 2009 that the $10.5 trillion energy investment needed between 2010 and 2030 will increase by $500 billion for each year of delay “before moving to a more sustainable emissions path”.

A delay of “just a few years” would make it impossible to reach the IEA’s scenario for stabilising carbon dioxide equivalent in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million. Keeping greenhouse gas concentrations at this level will produce a 50% chance the global temperature rise can be kept below the crucial 2°C threshold.

Speakers at the Environment 09 conference in London on Monday were doubtful a comprehensive legally-binding deal would be reached in the Danish capital, however. Japan’s head negotiator Kuni Shimada said that the “most probable” outcome now is that Copenhagen will “agree on the elements for key issues which must be within the outcome. We can still negotiate the nitty gritty details next year.” A final protocol or treaty could be hashed out in 2010 or even 2011, he added.

“[Copenhagen] won’t solve all the issues,” agreed Chris Smith, chairman of the UK’s Environment Agency. “Some of the most significant emitting countries aren’t yet ready to conclude a deal – not least the US, where the Senate won’t have made its decisions until the New Year.”

“What we have to aim for, though, is a number of clear ‘in principle’ decisions, agreed by the participating nations, with a commitment to agree actions arising from those principles in the course of the following nine months,” he added.

But José Maria Figueres, former president of Costa Rica, told delegates: “I’m absolutely certain we can still achieve a high quality agreement at Copenhagen.”

“If we can’t get the [key] elements by the end of this year, we can’t get these kind of elements ever,” Shimada said.

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Entry filed under: Climate Bill, Climate Change, Energy, National News, US. Tags: , , , , .

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