The cost of inaction with climate change

Pacific Standard reports: Next week in Paris, some 40,000 government officials, journalists, activists, and lobbyists will descend on the city as delegations from 195 countries convene to nail down plans for curbing emissions and opening new energy markets in the face of climate change. The last Conference of the Parties, as the summit is known, occurred six years ago in Copenhagen. While the Copenhagen COP was supposed to be a turning point in climate change policy, it was largely deemed a failure. Should COP21 fall similarly short, it’ll likely be at the expense of the 3.5 billion poorest people around the world, according to a new report from Oxfam International.

Ahead of this year’s conference, participating nations submitted emissions reduction pledges, known officially as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. The United States, for example, agreed to cut emissions 25 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. Still, the promises of many developed nations tend to fall “well short of their fair share,” according to the report. And either way, cumulatively, the pledges wouldn’t be enough to prevent runaway climate change. “Even if all countries meet their INDC commitments, the world is likely to warm by a devastating 3°C or more, with a significant likelihood of tipping the global climate into catastrophic runaway warming,” the report warns.

If that were to happen, developing countries would be left to foot an astronomical bill by mid-century, according to the report. [Continue reading…]

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