Save the World

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has announced that the world must eliminate emissions from burning fossil fuels in the second half of this century in order to lower the economic cost of climate change. Nicholas Stem, a leading economist and climate change expert, believes that an investment of an equivalent to two percent of global gross domestic product a year is needed to limit and adapt to climate change.

The Secretary General of the OECD, Angel Gurria, admitted that climate change has serious economic consequences. Apparently, sixty percent of every tonne of CO2 emitted now will still be in the atmosphere 20 years from now and 45 percent 100 years from now. For anyone who is worried about the future of the planet, this is significant news.

“We need to achieve zero emissions from fossil fuel sources by the second half of the century,” Gurria told reporters at a briefing in London. “That doesn’t mean by 2050 exactly but it means by that time we need to be pretty much on the way to achieving it. This is worse than a debt because there is no bailout and if you have two or three good budget years a debt can be reduced, but emissions hang around for 100 years.”


Hurricane Sandy in the United States last year was estimated to have cost around $75 billion in damage and economic losses according to the OECD. The global cost of flood losses is expected to rise to over $50 billion a year by 2050. Whilst many countries already have policies in place aimed to help lower emissions, more progress is needed.

One way in which businesses can help cut down on carbon emissions in a small way is by sending corporate e-cards as opposed to physical ones. Whilst this may only feel like a small step in the grand scheme of things, the fact is that small steps matter. Corporate holiday e-cards cut down on the need to use fuels to transport mail. It is expected that many more companies will useelectronic holiday cards as more people seek to help save the environment.

The International Energy agency estimates that two thirds of electricity generation across the world comes from fossil fuels, and 95 percent of the energy consumed by transport is from fossil fuels. There clearly needs to be a global shift in policies if these figures are going to be improved upon. It is not impossible, but in order for it to work there has to be other viable economic alternatives which are of benefit to all countries around the globe.

Even though a shift in some countries to natural gas, which emits less carbon dioxide than coal – namely a shale gas boom in the United States – is ‘good news’, it should not be the end of efforts. Gurria said: “Any new fossil resources brought to market – conventional or unconventional – risk taking us further away from the trajectory we need to be on.”

About the Author – Sarah Makinson is a freelance blogger who contributes regularly to a range of lifestyle and consumer blogs. Read more of her latest environmental tips at Eco2Greetings.

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