On climate change, fear and hope

On climate change, fear and hope

Oct 10, 2018
Image credit: Brad Helmink via Unsplash
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, issued dire warnings about climate change this week, warning that humanity had around 20 years to curtail carbon emissions or else risk catastrophic climate change later this century.

“Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society,” the IPCC said in a press release, noting that failure to act would cause temperatures to rise by 2 degrees Celsius, causing widespread climactic changes.

The Paris Agreement of 2015 aims to limit increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Letting temperatures rise beyond that point could cost around $54 trillion (€47 trillion/CHF53.6 trillion,) the IPCC said, due to rising sea levels, more violent storms, worse droughts and the social and political crises that arise from those natural disasters.

But the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences offered some hope by awarding the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science to two American economists who have conducted groundbreaking research on sustainable economies that reduce greenhouse gases.

Yale University Economist William Nordhaus’s research on carbon taxes and New York University Business Professor Paul Romer’s research on economic forces shaping innovation shed light on how officials might steer the corporate sector to work for, rather than against, the IPCC’s goals.

“This year’s Laureates have designed methods for addressing some of our time’s most basic and pressing questions about how we create long-term sustained and sustainable economic growth,” the Swedish Academy said in a statement.

Image credit: Brad Helmink via Unsplash