A new report by the U.N.‘s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) advises that warming needs to be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid catastrophic climate change. The report indicates that the goal is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented behavioral changes and massive funding. The 1.5-degree scenario would require cutting carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 45 percent over the 20-year period from 2010 to 2030 and to a net zero by 2050, which means that all carbon dioxide released would need to be captured and stored or reused. The cost would be $2.4 trillion every year until 2035. Given that last year, the total spent on renewable energy was $333.5 billion, it appears that the $2.4 trillion number is not very doable. The IPCC report admitted as much: “These options are technically proven at various scales, but their large-scale deployment may be limited by economic, financial, human capacity and institutional constraints.”
According to the IPCC, a tax on carbon dioxide emissions would need to be as high as $27,000 per ton at the end of the century. That is equivalent to a $240 per gallon tax on gasoline in the year 2100. In 2030, the carbon tax would need to be as high as $5,500, which is equivalent to a gasoline tax of $49 per gallon. As a result, the IPCC envisages a future where people travel independently less, use forms of transportation like car sharing, and hybrid and electric cars, and use vehicles swaps and mass transit.