Report: Reducing Emissions Growth in Emerging Economies Could Be Cheap

Report: Reducing Emissions Growth in Emerging Economies Could Be Cheap - From the NY Times

How much would it cost to stop increasing greenhouse gas emissions in Mexico? According to a new study from the World Bank, not very much.

The bank estimates that Mexico could flatline its emissions growth, using a variety of measures, for about $64 billion over the next 20 years — or $3 billion annually.

That amounts to just 0.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product each year, according to the study, to keep emissions levels from rising significantly over the 659 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent released in 2008.

Without the measures, emissions in the country are expected to grow by 73 percent, to 1,137 million tons in 2030.

“The study shows in different proportions in different countries things that can be done today with existing technologies,” Todd M. Johnson, one of the report’s authors, said in an interview.

The report is one of six studies on low-carbon growth in emerging economies that the bank has been carrying out — though it is the only one likely to be ready before the United Nations climate change conference next month in Copenhagen. The other analyses — for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia – have been stalled by bureaucracy or by governments’ reluctance to provide data ahead of the global negotiations, according to the bank.

The Mexican government, meanwhile, published its Special Program on Climate Change [pdf], which proposes to reduce carbon emissions by 11 percent over 2000 levels by 2030. The bank has granted Mexico $2.7 billion in loans during 2008 to 2009 to support environmental sustainability.

“They’re not just preaching temperance from the bar stool,” Mr. Johnson said.

 

For Mexico, the costs of not moving ahead are already clear. The country is likely to suffer disproprotionately from the effects of climate change through a combination of drought, more violent storms and damage to its fertile Gulf Coast wetlands.

The World Bank study proposes 40 measures that can be implemented at low cost — including switching to more energy-efficient appliances; investing in renewable energy, particularly wind power; avoiding deforestation by managing forests; and, promoting public transport, especially bus rapid-transit systems, like the one in Mexico City.

The forestry sector offers the single greatest potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to the study, which proposes a mix of measures that would reduce deforestation and forest degradation.

 

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