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October 10, 2018

Green Supply Chain News: New UN Climate Report with Dire Warnings, Recommends Heavy Carbon Taxes

Report Now Sets Target Below Temperature Increase that was Basis for 2015 Climate Accord

By The Green Supply Chain Editorial Staff

The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued new report on the topic, as it does every few years, at a panel meeting in Incheon, South Korea.

The Green Supply Chain Says:
To keep future warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the IPCC said greenhouse gas emissions must fall 45% below 2010 levels by 2030.

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The 728-page document is even more gloomy than usual, with the headline news that the U.N. organization is now calling for a limit of future human-caused warming to just 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (a half degree Celsius), instead of the previously globally agreed-upon goal of 1.8 degrees F (1 degree C).

The previous target was challenging enough – the new one seems almost impossible, and would require radical policies changes on CO emissions.

If such a reduction in the increase in temperatures was achieved, the UN sees the following improvements to the global health and environment:

  • Half as many people would suffer from lack of water.
  • There would be fewer deaths and illnesses from heat, smog and infectious diseases
  • Seas would rise nearly 4 inches (0.1 meters) less
  • Half as many animals with back bones and plants would lose the majority of their habitats
  • There would be substantially fewer heat waves, downpours and droughts

"For some people this is a life-or-death situation without a doubt," said Cornell University climate scientist Natalie Mahowald, a lead author on the report, according to Yahoo.

Yahoo also reported that limiting warming to 0.9 degrees from now means the world can keep "a semblance" of the ecosystems we have. Adding another 0.9 degrees on top of that  - the looser global goal -  essentially means a different and more challenging Earth for people and species, said another of the report's lead authors, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Said former vice president and now climate change crusader Al Gore said in a statement that, “Today the world’s leading scientific experts collectively reinforced what Mother Nature has made clear – that we need to undergo an urgent and rapid transformation to a global clean energy economy.”

But meeting the more ambitious goal of slightly less warming would require immediate, draconian cuts in emissions ofCO2 and dramatic changes in the approach to energy field.

How draconian and dramatic?

First, the world would have to largely abandon its use of coal for electricity and use more solar and wind power, the IPCC said.

To keep future warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the IPCC said greenhouse gas emissions must fall 45% below 2010 levels by 2030. Emissions must then decrease 100% - virtually eliminated - by 2050, according to the report.

It would start with a carbon tax that would need to be as high as $5,500 per ton of emissions - equivalent to something like a $49 per gallon gas tax. is thinking there would not be many buyers at that level.

To meet the original goals of the Paris accord, which seeks to limit future warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, the IPCC says carbon taxes would have range between $10 and $200 in 2030 and $160 and $2,125 in 2100.

A $10 carbon tax at the low end of the range would add about $1.70 to the price of a gallon of gas.

California and many European countries have policies to price carbon dioxide emissions, including cap-and-trade systems and carbon taxes. But carbon prices under those systems are nowhere near where the IPCC says they need to be, as most generally agree carbon emissions globally are increasing, led by increased consumption of fossil fuels in developing countries.

The IPCC said the “price of carbon would need to increase significantly when a higher level of stringency is pursued.” However, the group’s report tacitly acknowledges the unlikelihood that governments will enact astronomical taxes on energy.

However, European Union nations concerned over the U.N. report agreed on Tuesday to seek a 35% cut in car emissions by 2030, though Germany warned that overly challenging targets risked harming industry and jobs.

What is your reaction to the new temperature goals sought by the UN – and the impact on energy prices?

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