At a Time of Climate Crisis: Cost of fossil fuel dependence has never been so high

We must focus on the value not the cost of change

In this month’s column for the Irish Times MaREI researcher Dr Hannah Daly at ERI, University College Cork has written about the cost of fossil fuel dependence has never been so high.

Oscar Wilde famously quipped that a cynic is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

The observation is particularly relevant in today’s discussions on climate change which typically focus on immediate costs and disruption rather than the long-term benefits of taking action.

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions is certainly worth it in the long run – after all, the pay-off is a planet with a habitable climate. However, because this benefit is global and is mainly for future generations and for people already facing climate threats, who mainly live in developing countries, this argument does not wield as much influence as it should in convincing countries, businesses or individuals to act.

Viewed through a lens of the upfront cost alone, transforming the world’s energy system, from fossil fuels to renewable energy and electricity, is clearly not going to be cheap. The cost of building large-scale infrastructure, such as offshore wind farms or a new metro lines, can run into billions of euros. The price of new electric vehicles is beyond the budget of many drivers and the cost of a deep home energy retrofit is prohibitive for most households.

Read the full article here.