Planning for global change – low carbon by 2050?

13 Feb 2013

A recent report by the reinsurance firm, Swiss Re raises some interesting possibilities.  The first of which is that Swiss Re says it is possible for 92% of the world to shift to low carbon technologies by 2050 if agreements are put into place by 2015.  Swiss Re reports that low carbon technologies make up 33% of the global power supply.

The report reviewed 6 scenarios for the future:

1. Greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions are not pursued and adaptation to climate change is required;

2. Dramatic weather changes lead the world to drastically reduce GHG in 2025, including by building CO2 capture systems;

3. Gradual pursuit of GHG reduction happens, but not fast enough to impact climate change;

4. Research leads alternative energies to become competitive with, and replace, fossil fuels;

5. High carbon fuel prices allow alternative energies to compete with, and replace, fossil fuels; and

6.  Economic recovery and consensus lead to strong greenhouse gas policies to spur investment in green technologies.

The report concluded that options 3, 4 and 5 are believed the most likely to occur.   Interestingly, the report concludes that the cost to shift energy generation, while high, is roughly 20% of the cost of world-wide adaptation to a changing climate.

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