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New report claims economic growth, action on climate change can be achieved together

Report aims to drive action by world leaders, business executives and investors ahead of major summit on climate change.

A major new report released by a commission of global leaders finds that governments and businesses can now improve economic growth and reduce their carbon emissions together. Rapid technological innovation and new investment in infrastructure are making it possible today 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. “[The] 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 Global Commission on the Economy and Climate comprises 24 leaders from government, business, finance and economics in 19 countries. A year-long study has been conducted by leading research institutes from China, India, the US, Brazil, Korea, Europe and Africa, advised by a panel of world-leading economists chaired by Lord Nicholas Stern.

The report titled ‘Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy’ was presented yesterday at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. Speakers at the event included Belete Tafere, Minister for Environment and Forest, Trevor Manuel, former Minister of Finance of South Africa and Global Commissioner, Newai Gebre-ab, Chief Economic Advisor to the Ethiopian Prime Minister, and Yvo de Boer, Director General of the Global Green Growth Institute.

“The findings of this global initiative demonstrate there is considerable convergence between actions which support economic development and green growth – we should focus on the convergence rather than the tradeoffs”, said Newai Gebre-ab in his speech.
The report was also simultaneously presented to governments, business and finance leaders at a global launch event at the UN headquarters in New York City, attended by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

The report arrives just one week before the UN Climate Summit on 23 September which aims to secure widespread commitment to tackle climate change globally.

According to the report, over the next 15 years, the time between now and 2030, about US$ 90 trillion will be invested in infrastructure in the world’s cities, agriculture and energy. That gives the world an unprecedented opportunity to drive investment in low-carbon growth, bringing multiple benefits to 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.”

The report finds that 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, governments and businesses need to improve resource efficiency, invest in good-quality infrastructure, and stimulate technological and business innovation.

Cover Infograph: A 2010 Gallup survey measuring peoples’ response about Economic growth vs Climate Change

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