"We can no longer wait"

“Here in the early years of the 21st century, we’re looking for an energy revolution that’s as comprehensive as the one that occurred at the beginning of the 20th century when we went from gaslight and horse-drawn carriages to light bulbs and automobiles,” Dr. Moomaw said. “In 1905, only 3 percent of homes had electricity. Right now, 3 percent is about the same range as the amount of renewable energy we have today. None of us can predict the future any more than we could in 1905, but that suggests to me it may not be impossible to make that kind of revolution again.”

This is the third report this year from the climate panel, which was formed under the auspices of the United Nations in 1988 to brief nations periodically on risks from human and natural changes in climate and options for limiting dangers.
The third summary is available here. A few excerpts:

Technologies available now [click to enlarge]:

Effective policies [click to enlarge]:

"Substantial economic potential for the mitigation of global GHG emissions over the coming decades, that could offset the projected growth of global emissions or reduce emissions below current levels" received a "high agreement, much evidence" rating in this summary. Hmmh. Imagine that!

Short term (until 2030), the worst-case scenario for the economy (according to my prefunctory reading) is a 3% decline in GDP. Or no impact at all. "However, regional costs may differ significantly." And that has "high agreement, medium evidence". Hmmh, medium evidence. Could it be more difficult to forecast the economic disruption of mitigation than the think-tankers who tell us there will be a global economic collapse leading to the deaths of millions might have us believe?

Meanwhile, "high agreement, much evidence" exists for "in all analyzed world regions near-term health co-benefits from reduced air pollution as a result of actions to reduce GHG emissions can be substantial and may offset a substantial fraction of mitigation costs". So much for the deaths of millions of the world's poor as a result of mitigation. I suspect that the most squealing by the think tanks might come from countering that one!

Also "high agreement, much evidence" for: "New energy ingrastructure investments in developing countries, upgrades of energy infrastructure in industrialized countries, and policies that promote energy security, can, in many cases, create opportunities to achieve GHG emission reductions compared to baseline scenarios. Additional co-benefits are country-specific but often include air pollution abatement, balance of trade improvement, provision of modern energy services to rural areas and employment." I'm sure the only reason they didn't mention global economic collapse and the deaths of millions of the world's poor is because they're a bunch of socialists intent on destroying US capitalism.

Energy efficiency in buildings ranks very high for mitigation strategies and I wholeheartedly agree. Clean tech is already competitive and ought to be pursued vigorously.

All nations could do more to increase industrial efficiency. No surprises there. Then there's agriculture, forestry and waste management: all big issues, but too much to mention here.

I like this one: "Geo-engineering options, such as ocean fertilization to remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere, or blocking sunlight by bringing material into the upper atmosphere, remain largely speculative and unproven, and with the risk of unknown side-effects. Reliable cost estimates for these options have not been published (medium agreement, limited evidence)."

And then there's the longer-term strategies, which I will not get into here either...what will the world look like in 2050? 2100? Don't know, and it's somewhat irrelevant to the issue of what we can and should do now. Though it'll likely be the area the think-tankers will focus on most, since their strategy is 'do nothing now because in the future we'll all have non-polluting flying cars.' And everyone will be happy then. And there will be no more tears. Yeah.