Averting Climate Change May Cost $700 Billion a Year


Alex Morales


About $700 billion a year of new spending on renewable power, low-carbon transport and energy efficiency is needed to meet the United Nations goal to cap temperature rises, a report for the World Economic Forum showed.

That cash is needed in addition to the $5 trillion a year countries must spend on infrastructure for agriculture, transport, power and water through 2020, according to a report released today by the consultant Accenture Plc (ACN) for the forum’s Green Growth Action Alliance.

“This development needs to be greened by re-evaluating investment priorities,” former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, chairman of the alliance, wrote in a forward to the report. “There remains a considerable shortfall in investment. Closing this gap is our collective task and one that we cannot afford to fail.”

The World Bank says the planet is on track to warm by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) this century, double the level deemed safe by scientists working in a UN process. To rein in warming, governments must use public money to leverage as much as five times the amount in private investment in clean technologies, according to the report.

“The G20 governments must accelerate the phasing-out of fossil-fuel subsidies, enact long-term carbon price signals, enable greater free trade in green technologies, and expand investment in climate adaptation,” the report said.

The WEF holds its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland from Jan. 23 to Jan. 27. The Green Growth Action Alliance is a coalition of more than 50 financial institutions, companies, governments and non-governmental organizations that’s co- ordinated by the WEF. Members include General Electric Co.’s energy division, HSBC Holdings Plc and Morgan Stanley.