Cutting carbon from world’s power plants would cost $44 trillion

Reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the world’s power generation industry to levels that would limit global warming to safe levels through 2050 would cost $44 trillion, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.

The cost of “decarbonization” has increased 22 percent since the IEA last estimated it two years ago, largely due to the growth of coal power outpacing renewable energy, the agency said in a Monday report. Coal emits much more carbon dioxide than renewables.

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The cost is based on limiting global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit through 2005, a level that international leaders have agreed is safe for the climate.

“We must get it right, but we’re on the wrong path at the moment,” Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the Paris-based IEA, said in a statement. “A radical change of course at the global level is long overdue.”

The IEA called for a tripling of renewable energy, nuclear power and carbon capture and storage by 2050 to reach the goal carbon reduction goal.

If the world spent $44 trillion on those technologies, they would provide a $115 trillion return in fuel savings, the IEA said.