REPORT: $58 Trillion Needed To Meet The UN’s Global Warming Goals

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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The world needs to triple annual investment in green energy technology to keep global warming within the bounds of the Paris climate accord, according to a new report.

Yearly investments in green energy need to hit $2.3 trillion over the next 24 years, according to a Stanford University report that lays out the cost of keeping global greenhouse gas concentrations at 450 parts per million.

The report comes as United Nations delegates prepare to meet in Bonn, Germany, for a major climate summit in early November. The UN has also released an “emissions gap” report, claiming not enough is being done to limit global warming.

“Global investment totaling $58 trillion over the next 25 years in clean energy could bring with it major economic, security and health benefits,” reads the report co-authored by five analysts from Stanford’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy & Finance and two Hoover Institution analysts.

The report emphasizes that attracting $2.3 trillion every year requires governments to “derisk” in green energy investments, which the report says can be done with policies like carbon taxes, energy mandates and subsidies that curb fossil fuel use. Analysts based their findings on International Energy Information claims on what’s needed to stave off “dangerous” global warming.

To “decarbonize” the global economy, the report says $58 trillion needs to be invested in green energy technologies, including “energy efficiency, the full range of renewables, nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, natural gas, cogeneration, as well as key enabling technologies including transmission, storage, and demand response.”

“Anything close to tripling spending of this magnitude is a monumental financial challenge, on par with the challenge of rebuilding the world’s energy system,” reads the report.

That $58 trillion over a quarter century is what energy experts claim is needed to keep future global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, which is the goal laid out in the Paris climate accord.

The Steyer-Taylor Center was founded in 2010 by billionaire investor Tom Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor. Steyer was the single largest political donor in the 2016 election cycle, giving $91 million to Democrats and liberal causes.

The Hoover Institution is a conservative think tank. The study was funded by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch and published by the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy.

Stanford’s $58 trillion estimate is a big price tag, but estimates of what it would cost to meet the Paris agreement vary wildly.

A recent report by the Energy Transitions Commission’s (ETC) claims “additional investments of around $300-$600 billion per annum” over the next two decades are needed for the world meet the goals laid out in the Paris agreement.

By 2040, ETC claims the world needs “investment in renewables and other low-carbon technologies some $6 trillion higher ($300 billion per year); while the largest required increases – of almost $9 trillion ($450 billion per year) – will be in more efficient energy saving equipment and buildings.”

That’s a $15 trillion price tag. Another recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) projected a total of $12.7 trillion to keep projected global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

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