A new report released by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, which comprises 24 leaders from government, business, finance and economics in 19 countries, found that governments and businesses could improve economic growth while reducing carbon emissions. A year-long study has been conducted by leading research institutes from Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, South Korea, the United Kingdom and United States, advised by a panel of world-leading economists chaired by Lord Nicholas Stern. According to the Better Growth, Better Climate, technological innovation and new investment in infrastructure have made it possible to tackle climate change at the same time as improving economic performance.
“The New Climate Economy report refutes the idea that we must choose between fighting climate change or growing the world’s economy. That is a false dilemma,” said former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón, Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. “Today’s report details compelling evidence on how technological change is driving new opportunities to improve growth, create jobs, boost company profits and spur economic development. The report sends a clear message to government and private sector leaders: we can improve the economy and tackle climate change at the same time.”
The report highlights that over the next 15 years, around US$90 trillion will be invested in infrastructure in the world’s cities, agriculture and energy systems. This opportunity to drive investment in low-carbon growth will offer multiple benefits including jobs, health, business productivity and quality of life.
“The decisions we make now will determine the future of our economy and our climate,” said Lord Nicholas Stern, Co-Chair of the Global Commission. “If we choose low-carbon investment we can generate strong, high-quality growth – not just in the future, but now. But if we continue down the high-carbon route, climate change will bring severe risks to long-term prosperity.”
Strong growth, lower emissions
There are now major opportunities to achieve strong growth with lower emissions in three key sectors of the global economy – cities, land use and energy. To achieve this growth, governments and businesses need to improve resource efficiency, invest in good-quality infrastructure, and stimulate technological and business innovation.
- Cities: building better connected, more compact cities based on mass public transport can save over US$3 trillion in investment costs over the next 15 years. These measures will improve economic performance and quality of life with lower emissions.
- Land use: restoring 12% of the world’s degraded lands can feed another 200 million people and raise farmers’ incomes by US$40 billion a year (and also cut emissions from deforestation).
- Energy: as the price of solar and wind power falls, over half of new electricity generation over the next 15 years is likely to be from renewable energy, reducing dependence on coal.
- Resource efficiency: phasing out the US$600 billion currently spent on subsidies for fossil fuels (compared to US$100 billion on renewable energy) will help to improve energy efficiency and make funds available for poverty reduction.
- Infrastructure investment: new financial instruments can cut capital costs for clean energy by up to 20%.
- Innovation: tripling research and development in low-carbon technologies to at least 0.1% of GDP can drive a new wave of innovation for growth.
Competitive markets and consistent government policy signals are essential for businesses and investors to create low-carbon jobs and growth. By establishing a strong carbon price and a level playing field through an international climate agreement, governments can unlock new investment and innovation.
“Major companies, smart investors and a new generation of entrepreneurs are already demonstrating how markets can drive low-carbon growth,” said Jeremy Oppenheim, Global Programme Director of the New Climate Economy project. “But inconsistent policy in many countries is now creating uncertainty, hurting investment and job creation. Businesses and investors need clearer market signals.”
The report sets out a detailed 10-point Global Action Plan of practical recommendations that can achieve greater prosperity and a safer climate at the same time. The Commission calculates that if fully implemented its recommendations could potentially achieve up to 90% of the emissions reductions needed by 2030 to avoid dangerous climate change. This would require decisive and early action by economic decision-makers.
Over the next six months the Commission will discuss the report with economic decision-makers across the world. It aims to stimulate stronger action by governments and businesses to drive growth and emissions reductions together.
“The message to leaders is clear,” said Felipe Calderon. “We don’t have to choose between economic growth and a safe climate. We can have both. We can choose better growth and a better climate.”
Read the Better Growth, Better Climate report here.
Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/the-americas/19092014/global-leaders-release-better-growth-better-climate-report-515/