By IMF Staff
Unaddressed, climate change will entail a potentially catastrophic human and economic toll, but it’s not too late to change course.
Global temperatures have increased by about 1°C since the pre-industrial era because of heat-trapping green-house gases accumulating in the atmosphere. Unless strong action is taken to curb emissions of these gases, global temperatures could increase by an additional 2–5°C by the end of this century. Keeping temperatures to levels deemed safe by scientists requires bringing net carbon emissions to zero on net globally by mid-century.
…economic policy tools can pave a road toward net zero emissions by 2050 even as the world seeks to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
In the latest World Economic Outlook we make the case that economic policy tools can pave a road toward net zero emissions by 2050 even as the world seeks to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. We show that these policies can be pursued in a manner that supports economic growth, employment and income equality.
The manageable costs of mitigation
Economic policies can help address climate change through two main channels: by affecting the composition […]
“The human influence on the climate system is clear and is evident from the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, positive radiative forcing, observed warming, and understanding of the climate system.” —Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fifth Assessment Report
Fossil fuel prices are likely to stay “low for long.” Notwithstanding important recent progress in developing renewable fuel sources, low fossil fuel prices could discourage further innovation in and adoption of cleaner energy technologies. The result would be higher emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Policymakers should not allow low energy prices to derail the clean energy transition. Action to restore appropriate price incentives, notably through corrective carbon pricing, is urgently needed to lower the risk of irreversible and potentially devastating effects of climate change. That approach also offers fiscal benefits.