This week the United Nations Development Programme released a new report: “Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world.” Basic conclusion: developed nations are responsible for climate change, but it is people in the developing world who will largely suffer, it is the responsibility of developed countries to take action – and fast.

This has all been widely covered in the media, so I’ll be brief.

As I’ve mentioned before, there’s no better way to cut through the crap and get right to the point than with some simple statistics. So here are some interesting numbers from the report:

  • Number of Earths required for everyone on earth to have the carbon footprint of the average Canadian: 9
  • 19 million people living in New York state have the same carbon footprint as 766 million people living in the world’s 50 poorest countries.
  • Global average temperature rise we must keep within: 2C
  • Level of ambient carbon dioxide we must keep within to stay under 2C: 450ppm
  • Amount developed countries need to cut carbon emissions: 80% by 2050
  • Amount developing countries need to cut carbon emissions by 2050: 20%
  • Therefore, amount the world needs to cut carbon emissions by 2050: 50%
  • Amount required to reach this goal: £800 billion/year
  • What is £800 billion? Just 1.6% of our global GDP

There you have it. Just 1.6% of our global GDP. Would that seriously be so difficult?

But there’s one statistic that to me is more revealing than anything else:

£800 billion is just two thirds the amount we spend globally on weapons every year.

There isn’t anything else I need to say.