Climate action could add $26 trillion to world economy, but investment in sustainable technology is critical.
Adherence to the Paris Agreement guidelines is a must for positive climate action.
Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time. Global warming is the observed century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth's climate system and its related effects. Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97% or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely to be caused due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.
Climate change poses a fundamental threat to places, species and people’s livelihoods. Sea levels are rising and oceans are becoming warmer. Longer, more intense droughts threaten crops, wildlife and freshwater supplies. From polar bears in the Arctic to marine turtles off the coast of Africa, our planet’s diversity of life is at risk from the changing climate.
The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance - starting in the year 2020. The Agreement aims to respond to the global climate change threat by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The US is the only nation that has withdrawn from the Paris accord.
Ambitious action on climate change could contribute an extra $26 trillion to the world economy by 2030, international experts said on Wednesday, as they urged nations and businesses to step up their engagement. The economic benefits offered by a shift to a low-carbon economy have been “grossly” underestimated, according to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, a think tank grouping former heads of government and top economic and business leaders.
“Bold action could yield a direct economic gain of $26 trillion through to 2030 compared with business-as-usual. And this is likely to be a conservative estimate,” the commission’s annual report found. Dynamic action on climate could also generate “over 65 million new low-carbon jobs” by 2030 and avoid over 700,000 premature deaths due to air pollution, the study said.
However, policymakers were “not taking sufficiently bold action to escape the legacy economic systems,” the study found, warning that the window for change was narrow. “We are at a unique ‘use it or lose it’ moment. Policymakers should take their foot off the brakes and send a clear signal that the new growth is here,” said the commission’s co-chair Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former Nigerian finance minister.
Such growth would be driven by the interaction between rapid technological innovation, increased resource productivity and investment in sustainable infrastructure, which is expected to reach $90 trillion by 2030. The shift would involve change in five key areas: the development of clean energy systems, improved urban planning, a shift toward more sustainable agriculture, smart water management and decarbonizing industry.
Urging economic decision-makers to move beyond generic proposals or statements, it called on governments to put a price on carbon of at least $40-80 by 2020, and to move toward mandatory climate risk disclosure for major investors and companies. To this end, development bodies and banks should double their collective investment in infrastructure, aiming to invest at least $100 billion per year by 2020.
Our assessment is that now more than ever, the international community must commit itself to the Paris Agreement to ensure global temperatures do not rise exponentially. Climate change is an existential threat to mankind but positive climate action can be greatly beneficial for the global economy. We feel that the global economy needs an overhaul to become sustainable for the future. We therefore believe that positive climate action is the way forward.