Climate Action Will Pay for Itself, and More.
The United Nations (UN) stated earlier this month that the cost of avoiding climate change was at least 1% of global GDP — $500-600 billion dollars. Despite this major cost, Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the UK, and The Climate Group, presented a report to the UN yesterday saying that a strong climate deal will “boost growth in all major economies & create millions of new jobs.”
Confirming what the UN report had said, Blair and the Climate Group asserted that climate inaction will cost more than climate action in the long-term. “Cutting the Cost”, the new report, “for the first time, shows that benefits of jobs and GDP growth will accrue to all countries, with carbon costs falling dramatically when there is global participation.”
UN Climate Meetings in New York and Copenhagen
Today, the UN General Assembly, including 100 world leaders, meets in New York, especially with the intention to make final preparations for the Copenhagen climate summit in December. The conference in Copenhagen is where a new climate agreement (succeeding the Kyoto Protocol) is scheduled to be made. This report gives extra economic incentive and support for strong climate action in Copenhagen and beyond.
“Cutting the Cost” Findings
Main findings by the new report include that a strong global climate deal that involves all countries can create as many as 10 million new jobs by 2020, “generate additional economic growth worth as much as the green stimulus packages recently adopted by major governments,” and that adopting low carbon technologies will speed up sustainable development in developing countries.
Another major finding is that working together the cost of cutting CO2 emissions is much cheaper than if there is not a true, global deal. If the EU is the only major economy working on it, the cost will be $65 per ton of CO2. If the US is on board as well, the cost should drop to $28 per ton. And if it is a truly global deal, the cost could be only $4 per ton.
Tony Blair says: “The enormous cost savings that can be achieved if countries act together are striking. Even ignoring the costs of climate change itself, the world can benefit economically from action to cut emissions.”
Leaders Will Be Winners
CEO of The Climate Group, Steve Howard, says that leaders will be winners and those slow to get on board will be losers — “those countries first out of the starting blocks in the global low-carbon technology race will enjoy a competitive advantage. Countries whose leaders hold back low carbon development will lose out economically.”
The past has shown us, on repeated occasions, that technology revolutions result in GDP increases. As BusinessGreen states: “some economists have long argued that the development of a low-carbon economy represents a technology transition and that all previous transitions have resulted in net increases in GDP.”
This new report presented from Tony Blair to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon kicks off ClimateWeek NYC and is intended to break the deadlock that is occuring in the international climate negotiations, especially in the US.
Economy and environment — solutions look like they go hand in hand. Hopefully, climate talks will bring us into a new economy and a healthier living environment.
For more on international negotiations regarding climate change, read:
1) United Nations (UN) Shames Rich Nations for Climate Change Funding — Needs to Be About $500-600 Billion Higher
2) The US is Driving Other National Positions Leading into Copenhagen
3) Future of Global Cooperation on Climate Change: From the US to India and Back
Image Credit 1: World Economic Forum via flickr under a Creative Commons license
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