Better growth, Better climate

Better growth, Better climate

“We live in a moment of great opportunity, and great risk”, this is the key message of the report “The New Climate Economy” produced by  The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate,  a major international initiative to analyse and communicate the economic benefits and costs of acting on climate change.

Chapter 1: THE CHALLENGE

The opportunity is to harness the expanding capacities of human intelligence and technological progress to improve the lives of the majority of the world’s people. Over the last quarter of a century, economic growth, new technologies, and global patterns of production and trade have transformed our economies and societies. In developing countries, nearly 500 million people have risen out of poverty just in the last decade – the fastest pace of poverty reduction for which we have data. But still 2.4 billion live on less than US$2 a day, and urbanisation, rising consumption and population growth have put immense pressure on natural resources.

The next 10-15 years could be an era of great progress and growth. In this period we have the technological, financial and human resources to raise living standards across the world. Good policies that support investment and innovation can further reduce poverty and hunger, make fast-growing cities economically vibrant and socially inclusive, and restore and protect the world’s natural environments.

Chapter 2: ENGINES OF NATIONAL AND GLOBAL GROWTH

Cities are crucial to both economic growth and climate action. Urban areas are home to half the world’s population, but generate around 80% of global economic output, and around 70% of global energy use and energy-related GHG emissions. Over the next two decades, nearly all of the world’s net population growth is expected to occur in urban areas, with about 1.4 million people – close to the population of Stockholm – added each week. By 2050, the urban population will increase by at least 2.5 billion, reaching two-thirds of the global population.

The stakes for growth, quality of life and carbon emissions could not be higher. The structures we build now, including roads and buildings, could last for a century or more, setting the trajectory for greenhouse gas emissions at a critical time for reining these in.

Chapter 3: PROTECTING FOOD, FORESTS, AND PEOPLE

Rapid global population growth, urbanisation, rising incomes and resource constraints are putting enormous pressure on land and water resources used by agriculture and forests, which are crucial to food security and livelihoods. Roughly a quarter of the world’s agricultural land is severely degraded, and forests continue to be cleared for timber and charcoal, and to use the land for crops and pasture. Key ecosystem services are being compromised, and the natural resource base is becoming less productive. At the same time, climate change is posing enormous challenges, increasing both flood and drought risk in many places, and altering hydrological systems and seasonal weather patterns.

Chapter 4: BETTER ENERGY, BETTER CLIMATE

We are in a period of unprecedented expansion of energy demand. Global energy use has grown by more than 50% since 1990, and must keep growing to support continued development. As much as a quarter of today’s energy demand was created in just the last decade, and since 2000, all the net growth has occurred in non-OECD countries, more than half of it in China alone. Past projections often failed to anticipate these dramatic shifts, which nonetheless have affected the energy prospects of nearly all countries. The future is now even more uncertain, as projections show anything from a 20% to 35% expansion of global energy demand over the next 15 years.

A major wave of investment will be required to meet this demand: around US$45 trillion will be required in 2015–2030 for key categories of energy infrastructure. How that money is spent is critically important: it can help build robust, flexible energy systems that will serve countries well for decades to come, or it can lock in an energy infrastructure that exposes countries to future market volatility, air pollution, and other environmental and social stresses. Given that energy production and use already accounts for two-thirds of global GHG emissions, and those emissions continue to rise, a great deal is at stake for the climate as well.

Chapter 5: A FRAMEWORK FOR GROWTH AND CHANGE

Chapter 6: FINANCING A LOW-CARBON FUTURE

Chapter 7: TRANSFORMATION THROUGH INNOVATION

Chapter 8: A BETTER CLIMATE THROUGH COOPERATION

 

Source: New Climate Economy

Date: August 2015

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