The Biggest Opportunities for Cutting Emissions Also Offer the Largest Potential for Economic Growth
The evidence that addressing climate change will improve rather than damage the economy keeps piling up. According to a report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, the belief that cutting emissions will cause economic stagnation is based on a misunderstanding of the current global economy. Net cost predictions often fail to include the potential benefits of climate action, such as health gains.
The report, featured in a recent Co.Exist article, says that focusing on the areas most responsible for climate change – cities, land use, and energy use – could provide up to 90 percent of the necessary emissions reductions. The Commission offers very practical suggestions for dealing with these areas. Cities need to adopt more compact, transit-oriented development models. Governments should cut subsidies for fertilizer and address food waste. Fossil fuel subsidies should be phased out, and the cost of clean energy should be more broadly assessed to make it more attractive.
As the global population continues to grow, we’ll need to meet increasing demands for energy, food, and transportation. By seeing that challenge as an opportunity, we can help the economy thrive while protecting the health of the planet.
Ben Schiller, Contributor to Fast Company’s Co.Exist
It’s not an oxymoron – dealing with climate change can boost the global economy.
In a sense, dealing with climate change isn’t that complicated. Certain sectors of the economy are disproportionately responsible for global warming and have disproportionate opportunities for fixing the problem. A new report says concentrating on just three areas – cities, land use, and energy – could generate 90% of the reductions we need to bring temperatures down to relatively safe levels.
According to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, a group made up of 24 government and business leaders, these areas hold the greatest potential to grow economies. We need to make investments in cities, agriculture, and energy not only because of climate change, but because of a host of other issues, from projected shortages of food to projected growth in city populations. Much of what the report proposes is really just sensible policy in sectors like urban planning and energy efficiency.
Image credit: Fast Company