Monday, April 30, 2007

Climate Report to Warn Time Running Out in Greenhouse Gas

By Marlowe Hood for Agence France Presse

Time is running out to cut the greenhouse-gas emissions that drive climate change, but much can be done at a modest cost to attack the looming crisis, according to experts gathering for new talks.0429 03Fierce debate is expected however at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting which starts in Bangkok on Monday to hammer out a new all important summary for governments.

A draft of the report to be agreed by experts on the United Nation’s main authority on climate change says there is scant time to waste.

“Mitigation efforts over the next two to three decades will determine to a large extent the long-term global mean temperature increase and the corresponding climate change impacts that can be avoided,” says the draft which has been seen by AFP.

Using a smart mix of policies and technologies, the cost of stabilizing carbon pollution at nearly 75 percent above today’s levels would be just 0.2 percent of world gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.

That price would rise to 0.6 percent of global GDP if the world stabilized carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at a level roughly 50 percent higher than today, they calculate.

The sticking points expected at the debate include emissions caps, taxes on CO2 emissions and references to the Kyoto Protocol — an approach that is anathema to President George W. Bush.

There could also be squabbles over nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels and over carbon storage, a nascent technology for storing greenhouse gases deep underground.

The report to be released on Friday is the last in a massive three-volume update of knowledge on climate change, based on the work of some 2,500 scientists

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