Reversing climate change will cost US$150bn, scientists say

2 Jun 2015

A team of climate scientists has united to call on investment levels equivalent to the Apollo space programme to be made to tackle climate change, saying a figure of US$150bn is needed to make a serious effort.

Creating the group called Global Apollo, the researchers are hoping to encourage nations to make serious investments in renewable energy technologies to tip the scale of energy production in its favour, rather than continuing with fossil-fuel-based energy generation.

According to the BBC, the group has already received interest from a number of nations that would be willing to stump up 0.2pc of their GDP towards renewable energy technology.

The group said on its website that if a government coalition agrees to a two degrees celsius maximum worldwide temperature growth, its estimates predict this barrier will be broken as early as 2035 if current trends continue.

Launching its programme in London’s Royal Society, the group emphasised the urgency of the need for a drastic switch to renewable energies to achieve all its targets within a decade.

“We have already discovered enough fossil fuels to wreck the climate many times over. There’s only one thing that’s going to stop us burning it – and that’s if renewables become cheaper than fossil fuels,” said Global Apollo’s leading scientist, Sir David King.

Staggering lack of RD&D funding

Despite tumbling prices in the cost of producing wind and solar energy technology, the group said only 2pc of the world’s research, development and demonstration (RD&D) funding goes towards its development, a total US$6bn.

This, they say, is far too low when compared with the $101bn spent worldwide on production subsidies for renewables and especially the US$550bn spent on subsidies for fossil fuel energy.

A truer figure for what is needed has been set somewhere in the region of US$150bn.

Describing the importance of significant renewable energy investment, the report says: “We are talking about a crisis more serious than most major wars. This is the biggest scientific challenge of the 21st century. Let us show we have the collective intelligence to understand and overcome the danger that faces us.”

Countries signed up to the agreement are expected to be announced at the G20 summit due to get underway in Turkey later this year, prior to the climate summit in Paris scheduled for December.

Earth from space image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic