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World needs $90tn infrastructure overhaul to avoid climate disaster, study finds


A gigantic overhaul of the world’s buildings, public transport and energy infrastructure costing trillions of dollars is required if dangerous climate change is to be avoided, according to a major new report.

The study by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, which is co-chaired by prominent climate economist Lord Nicholas Stern, found that the world is expected to invest about $90tn in infrastructure over the next 15 years, requiring an “urgent” shift to ensure that this money is spent on low-carbon, energy-efficient projects. Such smart investment over the next two or three years could help ameliorate the climate crisis, but “the window for making the right choices is narrow and closing fast”.

The report states that more than 60% of the world’s greenhouse gases are associated with ageing power plants, roads, buildings, sanitation and other structures. Around 1,500 coal plants are estimated to already be in construction worldwide, which would send the world spiraling towards disastrous environmental changes. Carbon-heavy infrastructure “literally kills people by causing deadly respiratory illnesses, exacerbating road accidents and spreading unclean drinking water, among other hazards”, the report reads.

“It also puts pressure on land and natural resources, creating unsustainable burdens for future generations such as unproductive soils and runaway climate change.”

Stern said the next few years will be “critical” to the future of sustainable development and the battle to ensure civilization isn’t ravaged by heatwaves, extreme weather, sea level rise and other risks.

To read the full article from the Guardian, please click here.