Statkraft Climate Roundtable - Chasing New Ideas - page 10

Do we have to choose between dealing with climate risk and
economic growth? Many political leaders believe that acting
more strongly on climate change will cost more than their
economies and their public support can bear. In fact, this is
a false dilemma. Faster, better growth today could create the
wealth and shared prosperity needed to deal with climate risk.
It is clear that if the world is to move towards a significantly
more carbon-efficient and climate-resilient pathway of economic
growth, a much more compelling economic case for action has to
be made. That case needs to be anchored in the opportunity to
build a better global economy – one which delivers not only growth
and employment, but also reduces local pollution, manages
scarce resources better and makes cities more liveable and
productive. Let’s be realistic. Contributing to a more stable
climate system is more likely to be a co-benefit of good policy
for many countries rather than the primary, near-term objective.
The New Climate Economy project aims to identify opportunities
that can strengthen economic and climate performance at the
same time. It always starts with the economic performance
agenda – growth, employment, poverty reduction, macro-
stability and risk management. And it looks to see how good
economic policy and good climate risk management can
be mutually supportive. The project brings together former
heads of government and finance ministers, economists and
businesspeople in a Global Commission led by former Mexican
President Felipe Calderón and draws on the expertise of world-
leading research organisations like the World Resources Institute
in the United States, the Stockholm Environment Institute in
Sweden and Tsinghua University in China.
Our starting point is the real-world perspective of economic
decision-makers: like the leaders in business and industry
present at the Climate Roundtable. This is not an ivory tower
exercise. Many of those decision-makers know that something
needs to be done about climate risk. They are just not sure
what to do or how fast to do it. In many cases, they are also
confronted with very powerful lobbies who unsurprisingly want to
preserve the carbon-intensive, status quo economy. The research
approach of the New Climate Economy project is evidence-based,
objective, open, and, importantly, has a near-and medium-term
focus. We recognise that decision-makers are understandably
more concerned with the next quarter’s growth or unemployment
figures than with the next century’s economic pathway,
Increasing our Degrees
of Freedom – The New Climate
Economy Project
By Jeremy Oppenheim
Programme Director,
The New Climate Economy
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