Eighteen prominent international climate scientists and economists have authored a paper that seeks to answer the most vexing environmental question facing the planet: How to reverse soaring carbon dioxide emissions and prevent the world from experiencing destabilizing climate change.
Their answer, presented in the journal PLOS One, boils down to this: Offer global leaders a detailed blueprint for decarbonization that involves setting a steadily rising price on carbon, the large-scale deployment of nuclear power and renewable energy, increased research into low-carbon energy technologies, and a reform of forestry and agricultural policies that leads to massive sequestration of CO2 — all while not spending more than 1 percent of global gross economic output.
The paper’s key recommendation is a gradually increasing price on carbon that would reflect the true price to the global economy and environment of continuing to combust fossil fuels.
Sachs stressed that none of the world’s major economies have developed detailed, realistic decarbonization plans, which has led to stalemate at global climate talks. Such plans, he said, would include significant increases in the research and development of “low carbon” energy, including nuclear power; achievable targets for switching the transportation sector and heating and cooling of buildings to low-carbon sources of electricity; and a price on carbon that would reward companies and individuals for sharply reducing fossil fuel use. California, he said, has embarked on such a path, with a target of reducing its carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
Via Flora Moon