Options and strategies to mitigate climate change are crucial for stabilization of GHGs (to stop the increase of GHG concentrations in the atmosphere). Thus, it is vital to make necessary efforts and investments to reduce emissions.
Economic activities have a substantial potential for mitigation of GHG emissions over the coming decades. In other words, mitigation can create a positive financial result for the economy, for example, through the development of new technologies or through a reduction in energy costs.
It was estimated that measures already taken with net gains could reduce global CO2-eq emissions by 6 Gt (Gigatonnes) per year by 2030. Today, the global fossil fuel emissions are about 27 Gt of CO2 per year.
Reducing GHG emissions by mitigation can have several â€˜co-benefitsâ€™. It can result in large and rapid health benefits from reduced air pollution, which may also offset a substantial part of the mitigation costs.
Energy-efficiency and the use of renewable energy offer synergies with sustainable development. In the least-developed countries, for example, changing the source of energy from fuel wood to the Sun has many benefits. It can lower disease and death rates by - cutting down on indoor air pollution, reducing the workload for women and children who have to go out and collect the fuel wood, and decreasing the unsustainable use of fuel wood and, thereby, deforestation.
The literature of climate change uses a number of terms to depict the associated benefits and costs that arise in conjunction with GHG mitigation policies. These include co-benefits, ancillary benefits, side benefits, secondary benefits, collateral benefits, and associated benefits. Among these, co-benefits have the most prominence.
Measures taken and policies formulated to mitigate GHG emissions are aimed to restore the balance of GHGs in the atmosphere. However, these policies and measures may very well have other benefits also, which are not climate related. Such non-climatic benefits are termed as â€˜co-benefitsâ€™; these benefits are explicitly incorporated into the initial creation of mitigation policies. For example, any measure taken to reduce pollution will have positive impacts on health. In other words, the term co-benefits reflects that most policies designed to address GHG mitigation also have other (often equally important) rationales involved at the inception of these policies. These could be related to objectives of development, sustainability, and equity.
Policies that address GHG emissions may have a variety of social and economic impacts, for example, on resource use efficiency, transportation, agriculture, land-use practices, employment, and energy security. These impacts may be positive or negative. Such benefits are referred to as â€˜ancillary benefitsâ€™, to reflect the fact that in some cases the side effects may be negative.