World set to emit 50 percent more greenhouse gas by 2050

E&E  • Posted: Monday, March 19, 2012

Despite current efforts, greenhouse gas emissions could grow 50 percent over the next 40 years, according to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

More than 80 percent of the world’s energy in 2050 will come from burning fossil fuels, and the global economy will be four times larger than it is today, “implying a 50 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions and worsening urban air pollution,” says the report. This could increase the global average temperature by up to 11 degrees by 2100 — far exceeding the internationally agreed limit of about 3.5 degrees.

Deaths from pollution exposure could double to 3.6 million annually by 2050, demand for water could grow by 55 percent and plant and animal species could decline up to 10 percent, note the study’s authors.

The report says decisive action at the national level is crucial, and the cheapest policy solution would be to set a global carbon price that would link existing trading schemes. It also suggests putting an end to fossil fuel subsidies (Nina Chestney, Reuters, March 15). — LJ