the cost of cutting carbon

Great info-graphic by way of the Economist.

Vattenfall, a Swedish power utility, has tried to quantify which ones would be worth undertaking at what price…

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The measures below the horizontal line have a negative abatement cost—in other words, by carrying them out, people and companies could both cut emissions and save money. At a macroeconomic level they would boost, rather than reduce, economic growth.

Lighting, for instance, accounts for some 19% of the world’s electricity use. A standard incandescent light bulb costs around €1, says Theo van Deursen, chief executive of Philips Lighting, and uses €15-worth of electricity a year. A low-energy one costs €5-6 and uses €3-worth. The payback on investing in a compact fluorescent bulb, therefore, is less than a year. Yet low-energy lighting makes up only 30% of Philips’s sales. Mr van Deursen admits to being disappointed. Sales are rising faster in the developing world: there, people pay more attention to electricity bills than they do in the rich world.

Economists trying to explain this apparent irrationality suggest that the savings are too small and the effort involved in change too large. People find their electricity bills too boring to think about; within companies, those responsible for keeping bills down may not have the authority to spend the necessary capital. Another explanation is the agency problem: that the developer who would have to pay higher capital costs up front will not be forking out for the electricity bills. Besides, people buy houses not because they have good insulation but because they have pretty views.

and this little kidney-jab to the USA at the end of the article:

There are lots of energy-efficiency regulations in place already, and they are being tightened. Incandescent light bulbs are the top target at the moment. Both the European Union and Australia said earlier this year that they are planning to ban them. But the man in the vanguard of this green revolution is Fidel Castro, who started phasing them out two years ago.