The online Der Spiegel here reports on Ottmar Edenhofer, who once admitted that reducing CO2 emissions was really all about redistributing global wealth.
Edenhofer is a UN economist and researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and is responsible delivering the economic arguments for conducting the Great Transformation to a decarbonized society.
How much is it going to cost? According to Der Spiegel and Edenhofer, so far except for lots of wild ass guesses, there are no real reliable figures available.
Recently it was reported that it would require only a “mere” 12 trillion by 2025, read here. That IPCC WG3 report, read here contains a lot of “ifs” and “maybes” scattered over a broad spectrum. Even Edenhofer sees a huge information deficit. Der Spiegel writes:
‘Everyone talks about renewable energies, but no one knows the costs exactly’, he said on Monday at a press meeting in Berlin. He too was amazed at how bad the state of information was.
In the report 120 researchers tried to derive an estimate of the costs of renewable energy. They rummaged through studies and databanks, and what they found was hardly satisfactory. ‘The data have a wide range and are often not critically checked over’, Edenhofer reported.”
So the proponents of the Great Transformation have no ideas how much it is going to cost. Yet we can be sure that energy will be much more expensive, and much more expensive energy and food are going to cost the poor lots of money and so many lives. So what does one do when there is such broad uncertainty? Der Spiegel writes:
In the end the IPCC scientists could only present numbers accompanied with error bars, said Edenhofer. Politicians, who expect clear recommendations, were aggravated by this.”
For Germany, switching to renewables also means revamping the entire power transmission grid. For example windparks in the North Sea will need power lines to bring the power inland and to the south. Everything would have to be integrated with the current system. There’s very little literature available to show how much this would cost. Edenhofer says:
The integrations costs cannot be determined from the literature. There’s a large factor of uncertainty. Whoever converts systems has to anticipate many surprises.”
Edenhofer also sees no reduction in CO2 emissions without a binding global CO2 treaty. As long as there is no treaty with teeth, CO2 emissions will continue to rise.
Kyoto successor will be buried in Durban
So what are the chances of getting a treaty in Durban next year? Der Spiegel quotes Edenhofer:
I have the impression that the successor to Kyoto will be buried there.”
Let’s hope he is right – permanently. But Edenhofer has not lost all hope. According to Der Spiegel, he belives the chances of getting a climate treaty will be good in 2014 – after the release of the next IPCC assessment report.