Global collaboration could help cut CO2 emissions while increasing both GDP and employment in all the major economies, according to a report presented today by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and The Climate Group, an international NGO.
“Cutting the cost: The economic benefits of collaborative climate action” was presented to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the Climate Week NYC gathering taking place in New York City.
The report aims to give new confidence to world leaders attending tomorrow’s UN General Assembly meeting and the G20 in Pittsburgh later this week, and seeks to set the stage for international climate negotiations to take place this December in Copenhagen.
The new report builds on previous economic analyses by Lord Nicholas Stern and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). For the first time, however, the new analysis shows that benefits of jobs and GDP growth will accrue to all countries, with carbon costs falling dramatically, when there is global participation.
The findings indicate that, under a global deal involving all countries, ambitious efforts to cut emissions can:
- Create as many as 10 million new jobs in 2020;
- Generate additional economic growth worth as much as the green stimulus packages recently adopted by major governments; and
- Enable a more than 15-fold reduction in carbon price (from $65 per tonne of CO2 to $4 per tonne of CO2).
The report also shows that adopting low-carbon technologies will accelerate sustainable development in developing countries.
“The enormous cost savings that can be achieved if countries act together are striking,” said Blair, founder of the “Breaking the Climate Deadlock” initiative. “Even ignoring the costs of climate change itself, the world can benefit economically from action to cut emissions. Forging and implementing a global deal will not be easy but world leaders can be confident that reaching a deal is both achievable and consistent with their measures to promote economic recovery. In fact, though of course an economic as well as political challenge, if crafted right, an ambitious global deal can create millions of new jobs and be a key part of this recovery.”
Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group, added, “A global climate deal with all countries on board will boost jobs and GDP growth in all major economies. Even a deal far more ambitious than any proposal currently tabled will drive net positive benefits for developed and developing countries alike. We also know that 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 economic costs of tackling climate change have long been a point of debate for academics, politicians and business leaders and have proved one of the major obstacles to more ambitious international action on climate change, explaining in large part the world’s failure so far to put itself decisively on a low-carbon development path.
Among those attending the Climate Week NYC gathering are lead climate negotiators from the US (Todd Stern), China (Minister Su Wei) and India (Minister Jairam Ramesh).