Global Commission on the Economy and Climate’s action plan says nations can achieve 90% of carbon emissions reductions needed by 2030—without sacrificing economic growth

New Delhi: A week before the UN Climate Summit, a group of global leaders drawn from a spread of countries and disciplines on Tuesday presented the world with a 10-point action plan that they said could help nations achieve 90% of the carbon emissions reductions needed by 2030—without sacrificing economic growth. The Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report prepared by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate comprising 24 leaders from government, business, finance and economics in 19 countries, was presented at the UN New Climate Economy headquarters in New York City. The event was attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Leaders from around the world are set to meet in New York on 23 September for a day-long summit aimed to discuss the building blocks of the crucial Lima climate change conference in Peru in December. Over the next six months, the Global Commission is expected to discuss its recommendations with economic decision-makers around the world, aiming to push for stronger action by governments and businesses to simultaneously drive growth and emissions reductions. “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,” said Global Commission chair Felipe Calderón. Over the next 15 years, about $90 trillion will be invested in infrastructure in the world’s cities, agriculture and energy, giving 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 report said. The report, the result of a year-long study by leading research institutes from China, India, the US, Brazil, South Korea, Europe and Africa, advised by a panel of world-leading economists chaired by Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics, highlighted three key sectors of the global economy where opportunities for strong growth and lower emissions can be achieved—cities, land use and energy. But in order to achieve this, governments and businesses must improve resource efficiency, invest in good-quality infrastructure, and stimulate technological and business 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 suggested measures include building better connected compact cities based on mass public transport; restoring degraded lands; harnessing electricity from renewable energy as the prices of solar and wind power fall dramatically, and phasing out the $600 billion currently spent on subsidies for fossil fuels. “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 Calderón, who is also a former Mexican president, in a press release. Importantly, the 10-point plan recommended by Calderón and other global leaders includes the need for countries to enter into a strong, lasting and equitable international climate agreement in order to provide the support needed by developing countries, while sending a strong signal to investors. It was also crucial for developed countries to show leadership through their own strong emissions reductions, and by mobilizing financial and technological support for developing countries, the report said. But it pointed out that developing countries account for around two-thirds of annual greenhouse gas emissions, and said global reductions on the scale required will not be possible unless all countries play their part. “The report talks about the important issue of low-carbon efficiency, but that is not sufficient. To achieve the targets, without a doubt, consumption has to be reduced in developed countries. Presently, every country aspires to reach the consumption levels of developed countries,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general at the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, a non-governmental organization

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