How Much Will a Copenhagen Climate Deal Cost?


If a significant climate deal is struck at this month's UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen—and that's a big "if"—world economies will pay the price. The bill has been tallied: $10 trillion in investments in energy infrastructure, to be exact. And despite recent big-ticket grants and loans in green tech from the U.S government, the majority of that cash will come from private investors. While this may seem like bad news for developing countries that can't foot the bill, industrialized countries have proposed paying $10 billion each year for the next three or four years in an attempt to make things fair. But what, exactly, will that cash go towards?

Putting aside the catch-all phrase "energy infrastructure," the money will go into renewable energy projects (wind, solar, geothermal, etc.), flood walls, well-insulated homes—basically anything that can help cut down on carbon emissions. By 2020, experts at ClimateWorks and Project Catalyst predict that $100 billion could be sunk into carbon-cutting measures.

These investments will be a boon to green tech companies around the world, but some countries have a longer way to go than others. "A few years ago, China had almost no recycling. Now it has three to four recycling mills for cartons. That's not ideal, but it's a start," said Mario Abreu, the Director of Recycling and Supply Chain Support Global Environment at Tetra Pak International. Clearly, then, companies from more developed countries that have advanced green technology on tap will have an advantage (note: China does actually have a growing solar industry and will probably benefit economically from a climate deal).

This is all hinged on a climate deal being reached, of course. For that, we'll just have to wait and see.

[Via CleanTechnica]

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  • Chris Reich

    First of all---the Copenhagen "deal" really is non-binding. There is no enforcement mechanism. That makes the cost somewhat relative to what actually happens regardless of what is agreed.

    But let's not focus on that. Focus on the cost detracts from focus on the benefit. What will it cost to fix the brakes on the car? Well, what could it cost if we drive a car with no brakes?

    It was just reported that the title of 'hottest decade on record' now goes to the first 10 years of the new millennium. Funny how that award keeps creeping forward always able to keep up with consumption.

    What if we don't make the goals? A little Copenhagen is better than no Copenhagen. Chew on that.

    What if the United States invested $1 Trillion in non-fossil fueled energy? Yup. Trillion with a BIG T. I think we'd actually get a return on that investment as opposed to the same big T we've dumped in Iraq---primarily to keep the supply of fossil fuel coming. And that didn't work out very well did it? How many people died yesterday in Baghdad? 130? What was oil when this mess started? $20 a barrel.

    Let's sign on and then beat the goals by a mile---or at least a kilometer or two. We can still do these things if we put our best people on it.

    Chris Reich