Global Commission Finds Bold Climate Action Could Deliver US$26 Trillion by 2030
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The report finds that significant technological and market progress over the last decade has been driving the shift to a new climate economy, with real benefits in terms of new jobs, economic savings, competitiveness and market opportunities, as well as improved well-being for people globally.

The publication highlights opportunities in five economic systems: 1) energy, 2) cities, 3) food and land use, 4) water and 5) industry.

The report explains that the next two-three years represent a critical window when many policy and investment decisions shaping the next 10-15 years will be taken.

6 September: The benefits of cleaner, climate-smart growth are being underestimated, and bold climate action could deliver at least US$26 trillion in economic benefits by 2030 compared with business-as-usual scenarios, according to a report published by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate through its New Climate Economy project.

The report titled, ‘Unlocking the Inclusive Growth Story of the 21st Century,’ aims to galvanize action by economic and financial leaders in government and the private sector, and lays out the benefits of transitioning to a new growth path, the challenges ahead and accelerators or actions to reap the benefits of stronger, cleaner and more equitable growth.

The report finds that significant technological and market progress over the last decade has been driving the shift to a new climate economy, with real benefits in terms of new jobs, economic savings, competitiveness and market opportunities, as well as improved well-being for people globally. The publication provides examples of benefits of shifting to a sustainable growth path, including that as much as US$30 can be recovered in economic benefits for every dollar spent restoring degraded forests, and climate-resilient water supply and sanitation could save the lives of more than 360,000 infants every year.

To unlock the full benefits of the low-carbon growth opportunity and avoid runaway climate change, economic and financial leaders in government and the private sector must do “more and fast.”

The report highlights opportunities in five economic systems: 1) energy, 2) cities, 3) food and land use, 4) water and 5) industry, and demonstrates that ambitious action across these systems could, inter alia: generate over 65 million new low-carbon jobs in 2030; avoid over 700,000 premature deaths from air pollution in 2030; and generate, through subsidy reform and carbon pricing, an estimated US$2.8 trillion in government revenues per year by 2030, which can then be invested in other public priorities or used to reduce distorting taxes.

The report explains that the next two-three years represent a critical window when many policy and investment decisions shaping the next 10-15 years will be taken. Thus, it calls on governments, business and finance leaders to prioritize actions related to:

  • pricing carbon and moving towards mandatory disclosure of climate-related financial risks as part of a broader policy package;
  • accelerating investment in sustainable infrastructure, supported by clear national and sub-national strategies and programmes;
  • harnessing the power of the private sector, including to unleash innovation and advance supply chain transparency;
  • ensuring a people-centered approach, so that gains are equitably shared and the transition is just; and
  • accelerating action, which will require decisive leadership, strong collaboration and finance.

Speaking during the launch on 5 September 2018, ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, US, UN Secretary‑General Antonio Guterres highlighted the growing momentum for climate action, explaining, inter alia, that over 130 of the world’s most influential companies are committed to using only renewable energy, 18 multinationals have committed to using only electric vehicles, fossil fuel-dependent countries are looking to diversify, and over 250 investors with US$28 trillion in managed assets have signed on to the Climate Action 100+ initiative. He said that climate change is high on the agenda for the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 73).

Unilever CEO and Global Commission Co-Chair, Paul Polman, said that to unlock the full benefits of the low-carbon growth opportunity and avoid runaway climate change, economic and financial leaders in both government and the private sector must do “more and fast.” Global Commission Co-Chair Nicholas Stern noted that current economic models fail to capture the “powerful dynamics and attractive qualities” of new technologies and structures, leading to an underestimation of the benefits of such technologies and clean growth.

The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and its flagship New Climate Economy project were established to help governments, businesses and society make better-informed decisions to achieve economic prosperity and development while also addressing climate change. The Commission has helped advance understanding of the links between economic prosperity, sustainable development and climate change, and shown that climate action and socioeconomic progress are mutually supportive. It was commissioned in 2013 by the Governments of Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Norway, Republic of Korea, Sweden and the UK. [Publication: Unlocking the Inclusive Growth Story of the 21st Century] [New Climate Economy Press Release] [UNFCCC Press Release] [UN News Story] [UN Press Release with Statement of the UN Secretary-General] [Remarks of the UN Secretary-General]


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