Zamenjava premoga z obnovljivimi viri se splača

Ekonomisti z IMF so naredili konceptualno študijo, v kateri so pokazali, da bi bile koristi od zamenjave premoga z obnovljivimi viri energije večje od stroškov. Ta teza sama po sebi sploh ni sporna. Boj proti klimatskim spremembam je dejansko najboljši stimulus za gospodarstvo. Pomislite na vse inovacije, nove tehnološke rešitve, nove materiale, nove naprave za proizvodnjo in shranjevanje energije, pomislite na vsa industrijska podjetja, ki bodo to izdelovala in pomislite na vsa delovna mesta v storitvenih podjetjih, ki bodo energetsko sanirala stavbe, vgrajevale nove energetske sisteme in skrbela za nemoteno delovanje sistemov.

Moj problem s študijo ekonomistov iz IMF pa je, da te koristi le bežno omenijo, pač pa koristi merijo kot splošne družbene koristi zaradi tega, ker se bomo izognili povišanju splošne temperature za 1.5 stopinje. S tem se bomo izognili negativnim vplivom na zdravje ljudi ter denimo na kvaliteto infrastrukture. To je vse res. Problem pa je, da je s temi argumenti težko prepričati najprej vlade držav, da je treba močno povečati izdatke za investicije v obnovljive vire, nato pa še prebivalce, da bo treba v ta namen plačevati nekoliko višje davke. Iz politično-piarovskega vidika so to dokaj šibki argumenti in težko bo z njimi dobiti splošno podporo za tovrstno ukrepanje. Po moje je bistveno bolj smiselno komunicirati potencialne učinke na gospodarsko rast, tehnološko prestrukturiranje in nova delovna mesta z višjo dodano vrednostjo.

Če koga zanima, spodaj je nekaj pasusov iz bloga avtorjev študije. Morda bodo njihovi argumenti za vas bolj prepričljivio, kot se zdijo meni. Pa sem zelo navdušen nad vlaganji v onbovljive vire energije.

International negotiators can’t agree on how to phase out coal, in part because of opposition to carbon taxes, and now even countries that had been able to abandon the fuel are reversing that progress as the war in Ukraine raises energy prices.

The most common concern about scrapping coal is that replacing it with renewable energy would be too expensive, but we show in new research that the economic benefits would far outweigh the costs.

We analyze this great carbon arbitrage, as we call it, in a recent working paper that calculates the cost of replacing coal with renewables, as well as the social benefits of this important transition. The benefits from ending coal use come from avoiding damage from climate change and harm to people’s health. Our estimate is that by doing so the world would yield a net gain of nearly $78 trillion through the end of this century. That’s around four-fifths of global gross domestic product now, and would be equivalent to about 1.2 percent of annual global economic output during the period.

It’s sound economic logic to pay for the replacement of coal with renewables to reap a net social gain measuring in the tens of trillions of dollars.

To determine both the size of the avoided emissions, as well as any potential losses from their prevention, we use a detailed dataset compiled by Asset Resolution on companies’ historical and projected global coal production based on the aggregation of production at the plant level.

The cost estimate for adopting renewable sources includes capital spending for new energy generation capacity equal to what’s lost with coal, plus compensation to coal companies for lost earnings when they are shut down. The cost estimate does not include compensation for affected workers, but this is likely to be small relative to the overall net gains from the transition. Additional compensation to make the switch to renewables feasible could be offered as long as the social benefits of phasing out coal exceed the more comprehensive set of costs.

Carbon price

We calculate the value of doing so by estimating the reduction in emissions from phasing out coal, and by applying a carbon price to those discharges. This in turn lets us estimate the economic gain from the transition. The difference between the value of the social benefits versus costs of replacement and compensation for missed coal revenues forms our baseline estimate of world’s net gain from finally ending our reliance on the fuel.

While our conservative estimate comes with an unavoidable uncertainty, given the decades-long timeframe, the enormous social benefits from what could be thought of as an inexpensive insurance policy are clear: paying a premium offers coverage for significant potential damages.

So sizeable are the potential gains that world leaders should pursue a global agreement to finance the phase-out of coal as a complement to carbon pricing or equivalent measures that currently don’t fully offset the negative effects of the emissions. We have chosen all our parameters, including the social cost of carbon, in a conservative way. The carbon arbitrage could in fact be bigger still for less conservative estimates.

Our research shows that ending coal use shouldn’t be seen as too costly because it provides economic benefits from reduced carbon emissions, such as avoiding physical damage to infrastructure caused by climate change. Investments in renewable energy also support economic growth and offer additional attendant benefits from innovation.

Significant benefits

The analysis shows that phasing out coal isn’t just urgent because it would help limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Importantly, the economic and health benefits are significant enough that we should push harder for global agreements that unleash the potential power of capital markets.

The bottom line for policy is that if compensation was built into an agreement to scrap coal, and if innovative financing packages could incentivize advanced, emerging and developing economies alike to end the fuel’s use, the net social gains from such an agreement would be enormous.

To better understand just how large the payments would need to be, we broke down the costs for different regions. The present value of total financing that’s conditional on commitments to scrap coal is around $29 trillion globally, in line with what other studies estimate. That works out to between $500 billion and $2 trillion annually, with a front-loaded $3 trillion investment this decade. Of the global financing need of around $29 trillion, we estimate that 46 percent is in Asia, 18 percent in Europe, 13 percent in North America, 13 percent in Australia and New Zealand, 8 percent in Africa, and 2 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean.

It’s a major funding challenge. But despite arguments that no government can afford such investments and that the private sector should steer its funding to renewable energy, most of the backing can indeed come from the private sector, once risks are reduced by sufficient public funds via so called blended finance, which could mean public funding of around 10 percent.

Broadly speaking, it’s in the interest of a government to finance 10 percent of its country’s total costs to replace coal with renewables if this amount is less than its resulting social benefits in terms of lower climate damages. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests this holds true for nearly all countries. Considerations of fairness, a country’s fiscal position, or both, may in certain cases call for foreign contributions to finance 10 percent of a country’s costs to phase out coal.

Vir: Tobias Adrian, Patrick Bolton and Alissa M. Kleinnijenhuis, IMF

One response

  1. Vzame se “climate damages” as “given”. O metodologiji izračuna oz. njihovi veljavnosti se ne sprašuje, potem pa se te (napihnjene) stroške vključi v cost-benefit analizo.

    Kolikokrat smo že to videli?

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