Felipe Calderón: “we can improve economy and tackle climate change”

Politicians and businesses respond to new findings that climate action will boost the economy

Wind farm 2

By Sophie Yeo

A report launched today by leading economists and politicians grapples with the question of whether climate action comes at the expense of economic growth.

The case for climate action comes out singing, with the New Climate Economy report concluding that investing in the planet will boost the economy and improve the lives of billions.

The message is one that leaders could harness when they gather at the UN headquarters in New York next week to announce new schemes to tackle climate change.

Here are some of the reactions from politicians and businesses to the new report:

Felipe Calderón, Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate

“Today’s report details compelling evidence on how technological change is driving new opportunities to improve growth, create jobs, boost company profits and spur economic development. The report sends a clear message to government and private sector leaders: we can improve the economy and tackle climate change at the same time.”

Lord Nicholas Stern, Co-Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate

“The decisions we make now will determine the future of our economy and our climate. If we choose low-carbon investment we can generate strong, high-quality growth – not just in the future, but now. But if we continue down the high-carbon route, climate change will bring severe risks to long-term prosperity.”

Chad Holliday, Board Chairman, Bank of America

“Our report finds that combating climate change and moving the economy forward can be mutually beneficial. The new climate economy links progress with growth through returns on clean energy investments, green bonds, and other financial and economic innovations.”

Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

“Climate change is an immense environmental and economic challenge. In contrast with the financial crisis, we have no ‘climate bailout option’. Putting a price on carbon would be an indispensable first step towards a low-carbon economy. The New Climate Economy report explains how this and other key policies can help us meet our climate goals.”

Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director, International Energy Agency (IEA) 

“The New Climate Economy report’s fundamental message – that economic growth and addressing climate change must go hand in hand – is one with which I fully agree. In the energy sector, climate policies will not be successful unless they also deliver secure energy supplies, underpinning countries’ growth and development needs.  And energy systems cannot be secure unless they also address environmental constraints. I urge governments to carefully consider the options presented in this report to advance economic, social, and environmental objectives together.”

Ed Davey, UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary

“The New Climate Economy report: ‘Better Growth, Better Climate’ shows that across key sectors of the world economy there is opportunity for low-carbon growth to drive investment, providing jobs as well as better health, business productivity and quality of life – but only if we act now … The UK is leading the way, just last week we published our vision for a global climate deal in Paris next year. It sets out our clear goal for ambitious and fair commitments from all countries that will reduce emissions and spur new investment in innovation.”

Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, The World Bank

“We now know that climate action does not require economic sacrifice. This is fully in line with the World Bank Group’s findings. It is up to all of us to make smart policy choices that will help combat climate change. For example, putting a price on carbon is a necessary step and could drive resources and investments to a cleaner economy.”

John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute, Australia

“This report is a challenging one for our government, which in many ways is moving in the opposite direction to that recommended and that being taken by more and more countries … In international commitments and in domestic policy, like the Renewable Energy Target, Australia needs to integrate the goal recognised in this report and elsewhere by the OECD and IMF that we have to be decarbonising our economies if we are serious about global climate goals.”

Paul Simpson, CEO, CDP

“From investing in low-carbon growth through to developing ambitious policies such as pricing carbon, we have the ability to realize the vision of a prosperous and climate-resilient future.  But if we are to fully capitalize on these opportunities, governments and businesses need to act now.”

Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group

“The New Climate Economy report highlights a vital fact, that if you put climate change at the heart of your strategy, along with growth and social development, you can build a thriving economy while reducing emissions. Last year alone, renewable energy accounted for 56% of new global power capacity. Companies have woken up to this fact and are now actively investing into clean energy, not just for philanthropic motives or to be seen as being green, but simply because they recognise it makes business sense.”

Mindy Lubber, President, Ceres

“More than 1,000 businesses agree that tackling climate change offers the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century. By using energy more efficiently, inventing new clean technologies and driving more efficient vehicles, we save money and create jobs.”

Sandrine Dixson Decleve, Director of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group

“The good news is that economic growth and action on climate are not incompatible. On the contrary, there are myriad possibilities for all sectors to get involved in driving low-carbon growth and economic transformation. But we must not wait: the longer we leave it, the higher the costs. Governments and business must act together to ensure the decisions we make today are the right ones to deliver a safe and sustainable future for all.”

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