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UN Study Analyzes Costs to Combat Climate Change

The Kyoto Protocol aims to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. (Photo: C. Carnemark/World Bank)

A new report from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) finds that far more investment is needed to hold greenhouse gas emissions in check, especially in developing countries. The report is being presented at a UNFCC meeting in Vienna this week.

The study - an "analysis of existing and potential investment and financial flows relevant to the development of an effective and appropriate international response to climate change" - says that additional investment and financial flows of US $200 to 210 billion are needed by 2030 to return GHG emissions to current levels.

The IAEA - through its laboratories, the Department of Nuclear Science and Applications, and the Department of Nuclear Energy - supports and contributes to assessments of climate change and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.

The UNFCC study shows that governments will need to adopt new policies and change the way they use their funds. One key way of enabling increased funding outlined in the report is by means of the carbon markets. The carbon market spawned by the Kyoto Protocol and policies to promote renewables are already playing an important role in shifting investment flows.

"A long-term international agreement on climate change will broaden the range of mitigation measures that are attractive investments and could allow the expansion of existing market mechanisms to a market of USD 100 billion per year," Mr. de Boer said.

The report will help delegates meeting for the UNFCC Conference in Bali in December 2007 in assessing the financial architecture needed for a post-2012 international agreement, for which negotiations are expected to be launched this year.


With 191 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has to date 175 member Parties. Under the Protocol, 36 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

The IAEA´s Planning & Economic Studies Section in the Nuclear Energy Department specifically addresses international negotiations on climate change and sustainable development, and contributes to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other bodies.

Last update: 27 July 2017