There's no need to choose between developing the global economy and fighting the problem of climate change, says a major report recommending solutions to both.
Felipe Calderon, former president of Mexico and chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, says the idea of choosing between economic growth and resolving climate change is "a false dilemma."
The study Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report says businesses and governments can now jointly enhance economic growth and minimize carbon emissions, thanks to swift technological innovation and new infrastructure investments.
"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," says Calderon.
The commission estimates that in the next 15 years around $90 trillion worth of investment will be allocated to city infrastructure, energy and agriculture systems. The report adds that there is an exceptional opportunity for the world to push investment in low-carbon growth to bring numerous benefits such as health, jobs, and higher quality of life and business productivity.
"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," says Lord Nicholas Stern, co-chair of the commission.
The report points to factors that are significant to investors and businesses in creating low-carbon jobs and consistent government policies that foster growth and competition among markets.
With detailed but practical recommendations for addressing climate issues and building economic prosperity, there may be a 90 percent reduction in emissions by 2030. These would, however, need early and decisive action from economic decision makers.
In the next six months, the commission will review the report together with global economic decision-makers, envisioning lasting commitment from governments and business sectors.
The commission also underscores strategies toward growth opportunities, which still retain lower carbon emissions in the long run, in three crucial sectors of the global economy: energy, land use and cities.
To spark growth, businesses and governments should enhance resource efficiency, capitalize in good quality infrastructure and encourage business and technological innovation.
"The message to leaders is clear. 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," Calderon says.
The Global Commission is composed of 24 leaders from various sectors of society in 19 countries.
The report, which was completed a week before the UN Climate Summit, was presented to leaders in finance, business and governments during a global event launch at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, attended by secretary general Ban Ki-moon.