Britain will have to increase spending on wind farms and other green projects ten-fold in the next 15 years if global warming is to be controlled, the UN will warn on Sunday.
Cutting greenhouse gases to manageable levels will cost up to 4 per cent of global GDP by 2030, according to a draft version of a report to be published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
If that figure is to be met, Britain would have to expand its climate change projects, including a dramatic expansion of renewable energy.
At the moment the UK spends 0.4 per cent of GDP, roughly £5.8billion, on trying to cut greenhouse gas emissions, including subsidising wind and solar power and energy efficiency projects.
Britain will have to increase spending on wind farms and other green projects ten-fold in the next 15 years if global warming is to be controlled, the UN will warn on Sunday
That figure would have to rise to at least £58billion, the UN report suggests.
Critics say the Government is already spending far too much on trying to reduce carbon dioxide and should instead concentrate on adapting to the impacts of climate change.
Lord Howell of Guildford, a former Foreign Office minister, says investment in carbon mitigation projects should be cut, not increased.
The Tory peer, who is also George Osborne’s father-in-law, told the House of Lords on Wednesday: ‘Now may be time to consider switching our colossal expenditure in attempting mitigation to adaptation to what is widely believed by many of us to come in the way of more extreme weather.
‘It seems that our current mitigation efforts seem to be producing no vast improvement in carbon emissions – in fact an increase in our carbon footprint – burning more coal, increased fuel poverty, driving investment away from this country to elsewhere where power is cheaper, raising the prospect of blackouts and general environmental damage.’
At the moment the UK spends 0.4 per cent of GDP, roughly £5.8billion, on trying to cut greenhouse gas emissions
Former Chancellor Lord Lawson of Blaby, a leading climate change sceptic, is also critical. Speaking in the same Lords debate, he said: ‘There are competing claims on resources and we have to decide which is our priority.
‘Is it to try single-handedly to decarbonise the world and thus push up to no useful purpose British energy prices, make fuel more expensive for British homes and litter the countryside with wind farms and solar panels?
‘Is it not better instead to divert our resources to increasing our resilience to extreme weather events whether or not the frequency of such events is marginally increased by global warming?’
UN scientists are meeting in Berlin this week, going line-by-line through the draft IPCC report before a final version is published on Sunday.