Costs Of Mitigating Global Warming

As already noted, global warming can be reduced by reducing GG emissions, by increasing GG global sinks or by deflecting solar radiation away from the earth. NAS (1991) lists some 'geoengineering' possibilities of large-scale deflection or sink-creation, but no detailed costings are available and they will not be further explored here. The increase in carbon sink capacity through reforestation has been investigated in detail, as

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Figure 12.1 Costs of adaptation and damage at a given (net accumulating) level of greenhouse gas emissions has the reduction of GG emissions. Because CO2 has contributed about 60 per cent of the 'radiative forcing' from the increase in the greenhouse effect over the past 200 years, and is expected to continue to provide approximately this share in the future (Cline 1991:906), among the GGs the abatement of CO2 has attracted the most attention and will be the focus of discussion here.

Figure 12.2 Calculation of the optimum greenhouse gas emission level. Point N is the highest emission level at which net greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere is zero

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