Friday, November 21, 2014

Climate Spending Falls, Threatening 2-Degree Target

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Spending on carbon-reduction and climate-protection measures by governments and companies fell for a second year, threatening the United Nations’ goal to cap global warming at safe levels, according to a research report.

World expenditures on renewables, energy efficiency, and measures that protect against the effects of climate change slid $28 billion, or 8 percent, to about $331 billion in 2013, according to the report published today by the Climate Policy Initiative, a San Francisco-based analysis company.

Governments are trying to devise a new global agreement by the end of next year that would cap the increase in the world’s temperature since the Industrial Revolution to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).  To achieve that, annual spending on measures like wind and solar power needs to more than double to $790 billion by 2020, the International Energy Agency says.

“Global investments in a cleaner, more resilient economy are decreasing and the gap between finance needed and actually delivered is growing,” Barbara Buchner, a senior director of Climate Policy Initiative and lead author of the study, said in an e-mailed statement.  “Climate finance is a key ingredient to bring the world on a 2-degree Celsius pathway.”

The IEA figure doesn’t include spending on measures to adapt to the effects of climate change, which were incorporated into the CPI total, making up about 9 percent of the spending.

Government spending last year was largely unchanged at $137 billion as private investment fell 14 percent to $193 billion, largely on the lower cost of solar panels, the report said.

Spending on “mitigation” measures that reduce emissions totaled $302 billion, and expenditure on “adaptation” to protect against climate extremes was $25 billion.  The remainder was made up of spending spanning the two categories.

Climate Spending Falls, Threatening 2-Degree Target

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