The World Economic Forum is planned in Davos in 2013 and at last, climate change is ranking in the top three of over 1,000 leaders of industry, government, civil society and academia that were surveyed. President Obama has reinforced this message as he has listed climate change as the top administrative priority.
The world has good reason to finally begin focusing on climate change, as there have been extreme weather events around the world, breaking records an unprecedented rates. The U.S. experienced the hottest year on record in 2012, with a combination of wildfires, droughts and increasing sea levels. The drought alone is expected to reduce the U.S. GDP by around 1% and is currently listed as the highest priced natural disaster in the history of the U.S. (so far). Hurricane Sandy reduced the GDP by another 0.5%. New studies have resulted in information indicating that climate change is costing around $1.2 trillion per year on a global scale or 1.5% of the global GDP.
There is a need to shift from the high carbon emissions energy to sustainable and renewable energy and this is a critical step to have any impact on climate change. However, with that said, there are many that seem to want to change to simply low-carbon energy and this may be the wrong direction. The low-carbon energy choices typically include shale gas, which has increased almost tenfold since 2005 in India, China, Argentina and other shale rich nations. The lower carbon emission energies may be a step in a better direction, but cannot be a base for reducing the carbon growth path. Greenhouse gas emissions from all of the industrial countries absolutely need to be reduced by eighty to ninety percent by the year 2050 to prevent accelerated climate change effects and choosing lower carbon emission energies will not get us to that goal.
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