Quantifying the cost of a dollar saved is a notoriously difficult economic exercise.

Taking existing circumstances and simply drawing out the trend lines is the easiest kind of forecasting; figuring out how far that projected reality is from the alternate potential realities of changed circumstances is the difficult part.

The International Energy Agency has tried to do just that in recent months, arguing that delaying energy infrastructure investment focused on reducing emissions is more expensive than adding it soon. The economists at IEA have drawn out the lines of the status quo, but also built models demonstrating what they think the world could look like with new, lower-carbon and renewable energy generation additions. And they like what they see.

Changing the future isn’t easy. But it helps to see where you want to go; the IEA has sketched out the future it wants to see. Below are AOL Energy’s graphical comparisons of their alternate futures.