New economic report makes financial case for climate action

By agency reporter
September 16, 2014

The publication of a new report outlining in economic terms the global benefits of transitioning to a low carbon economy has been welcomed by Christian Aid.

The New Climate Economy report has been produced by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate which includes former Mexican President Filipe Calderon, British economist Nick Stern and Bank of America Chairman Chad Holliday, among others.

The report, Better Growth, Better Climate, states that between now and 2030, $90 trillion will be spent on infrastructure across cities, land use and energy sectors. Shifting to a low carbon economy, the report shows, would cost an extra $4 trillion.

By contrast, the report refers to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which has shown the cost of global warming of just 2oC would be 0.5 to two per cent of global GDP by mid-century and much higher for larger temperature increases.

Christian Aid’s Principle Climate Change Advisor, Dr Alison Doig, said the report was encouraging and showed the growing consensus for climate action from across a spectrum of society.

She said: “Development organisations and environmentalists have been preaching action on climate change for decades, but now financiers and business leaders are starting to make the case simply on economic grounds.

“Four trillion dollars sounds like a huge amount of money but when compared with the $90 trillion which will be spent on infrastructure, it’s a relatively affordable price to pay to deliver a safe and secure planet and protect the world’s most vulnerable people. Especially when we consider that the financial cost of doing nothing would be far greater.

“It’s particularly timely with world leaders meeting in New York next week to kick start their negotiations on an international deal to start tackling the problem of global warming.”

Writing in the Guardian last week Christian Aid’s Chair Rowan Williams said the report was yet more encouragement for political leaders to act. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/20818)

He said: “This report will show that action on climate change is entirely compatible with economic growth in almost all countries and that the economic benefits, both short and long term, will outweigh the costs.”

He went on to point out that as well as the economic case for action, the scientific and moral cases were also now clear.

Among its conclusions the New Climate Economy report urges a move away from coal energy with greater investment in renewables, more compact and connected urban development to reduce emissions, and a reduction in deforestation.

Specifically it calls for a clear strategy to deliver the $100 billion per year of climate finance by 2020 from developed countries, which was promised by Hilary Clinton in 2009.

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