Major new report: Low-carbon society benefits citizens and business


A major new report published today shows that policies to maintain a safe and secure climate will mean a better quality of life for millions of people around the world. The study, spearheaded by leading names in finance, business and politics – including feted UK economist Lord Nicholas Stern and Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon – dispels the myth that action on climate change comes at the cost of people’s living standards. Instead it underlines that better jobs, cleaner air, and happier, healthier communities are all consequences of ambitious policies to cut carbon. Launched at the UN headquarters in New York just one week before the UN Climate Summit, the Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report highlights that a major transition is already taking place – boosted by rapid technological innovation and fresh investment in infrastructure. It offers yet more proof that there are no arguments left in favour of sticking to outdated fossil-fuels and plenty of good reasons for governments and leaders from business and finance to embrace the transition to a cleaner, healthier society run on renewable energy sources.


MT @pierrecannet Ahead of #UNSG Summit, #ncereport released today – how to combine growth with #climateaction


Hashtag to use: #ncereport

Tweets to use:

  • $90T will be invested on infrastructure in next 15 years. @NewClimateEcon asks can it cut climate risk? #ncereport
  • We can save $3Tr over next 15 years by building cities in a smart way. @NewClimateEcon report shows how #ncereport
  • >60% of global population will live in urban areas by 2030 @NewClimateEcon says compact cities can cut climate risk #ncereport

Key Points

  • Slashing greenhouse gas emissions will benefit all citizens and business. As well as reducing climate risk, cutting carbon will mean new and better jobs, cleaner air, improved health, lower poverty and more energy security. For example, building better connected, more compact cities with good public transport links will save the world more than US $3 trillion over the next 15 years and significantly improve quality of life. This is the clear and simple message from economists, former governments leaders and current business experts, led by Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the groundbreaking 2006 review that first examined the economic implications of failing to tackle climate change.
  • Tackling climate change is affordable and technologically possible. A growing number of successful businesses, cities and countries are already lowering climate risk, while creating jobs and healthier, happier communities. New financial instruments such as green bonds can reduce the financing costs of low-carbon electricity by around 20%, and shifting to a circular economy, in which companies reuse resources rather than ditching them, would reduce emissions and create 100,000 new jobs in the next five years.
  • Now is the moment for climate action. The investment choices taken now will shape the future and will lock-in either a low- or a high-carbon society. Around US $90 trillion globally will be invested in cities, land use and energy infrastructure between now and 2030. This is a huge opportunity to create a better society for all and reduce the risk of dangerous climate change. Delaying action will also increase the costs of dealing with a warming world. Next week’s UN Climate Summit in New York is an opportunity for world leaders to re-engage with climate change at the highest level and pledge the commitments that will speed up the transition that it already underway, driven by communities, businesses and investors who see the benefits of a renewables -powered future.


Just one week before world leaders meet in New York for the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit, a major new report shows how moving to a low-carbon society is beneficial for everyone.

The report, Better Growth, Better Climate, confirms that tackling climate change is affordable and that action will bring multiple benefits. It also shows that governments and businesses can reduce their carbon emissions, while at the same time creating jobs and remaining dynamic leaders in their fields.

It also insists that now is the time to act, highlighting that over the next 15 years around $90 trillion will be invested in infrastructure in the world’s cities, agriculture and energy. The world has an unprecedented opportunity to ensure this investment goes into low-carbon growth, says the report.

It details 10 action points for governments and business to ensure that such an investment drive towards a low-carbon society becomes reality, showing how the world could achieve 90% of the emissions reductions needed by 2030 to avoid the worst climate impacts.

The 10 action points include:

  • integrating climate change into core economic decisions and accelerating the low-carbon transition;
  • a strong, lasting and fair international climate agreement;
  • phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels and agricultural inputs and incentives for urban sprawl;
  • introducing strong, predictable carbon prices;
  • substantially reducing the costs of low-carbon infrastructure investments;
  • scaling up innovation in key low-carbon and climate resilient technologies;
  • making connected and compact cities the preferred form of urban development;
  • stopping deforestation of natural forests by 2030;
  • restoring at least 500 million hectares of lost or degraded forests and agricultural lands by 2030;
  • accelerating the shift away from polluting coal-fired power generation.

Better Growth, Better Climate released today by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate is the work of 24 leaders from 19 countries spanning the worlds of government, business, finance and economics. They, in turn, were advised by a panel of eminent economists, including Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the hugely influential 2006 review that examined the economic implications of failing to tackle climate change. Indeed, this latest report is being hailed as the ‘Stern Report 2.0’, moving the debate forward and examining the benefits of taking strong and timely action.

The year-long study was conducted by more than 100 research institutes the world over, from China, India, the US, Brazil, Korea, Europe and Africa and provides a comprehensive look at what transitioning to a low carbon society could mean for jobs, health, business productivity and quality of life.





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Key Facts

  • The coming decades will be a period of deep structural transformation. It will not be “business as usual”.
  • * High-carbon growth is proving increasingly costly. In the 15 countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions, the damage to health from poor air quality is valued at an average of over 4% of GDP. In China this is 10%.
  • Low-carbon investments are increasingly economically competitive. For example, the cost of solar components has halved since 2010, and between public and private sectors in the developed and developing world, there is enough capital for investment in the world and enough capacity for innovation to shift to a low-carbon economy.
  • Current policy uncertainty in many countries has raised the cost of capital, damaging investment, jobs and growth. If action is further delayed the costs of dealing with climate change will rise, as more high-carbon assets have to be retired or devalued (‘stranded’).
  • The world could save US$3 trillion over the next 15 years by building cities in a smart way, creating better places to live and producing less carbon pollution.
  • Food waste reduction measures in developed countries could save US$200 billion per year by 2030, while cutting emissions of carbon dioxide.
  • Renewable energy is already likely to account for around half of all new investment in electricity generation over the next 15 years. Most fast-growing economies can already meet more than 25% of their new energy needs from renewable sources. The cost of solar and wind power is dropping rapidly, and in some markets, renewables are already cost-competitive without subsidies.
  • More action can be taken to increase efficiency – most countries would be able to double their rate of energy efficiency improvement from 1% to 2% a year.
  • Subsidies to fossil fuels and agricultural inputs and incentives to urban sprawl are estimated to total over US$1 trillion per year globally.
  • New financial instruments, such as green bonds, can reduce the financing costs of low-carbon electricity by around 20%. For example, financing in India adds 25% to the cost of solar power.

Top Quotes

  • “The New Climate Economy report refutes the idea that we must choose between fighting climate change or growing the world’s economy. That is a false dilemma. 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.” – Former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón, 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.” – Lord Nicholas Stern, Co-Chair of the Global Commission.
  • “Major companies, smart investors and a new generation of entrepreneurs are already demonstrating how markets can drive low-carbon growth. But inconsistent policy in many countries is now creating uncertainty, hurting investment and job creation. Businesses and investors need clearer market signals.” – Jeremy Oppenheim, New Climate Economy Oppenheim, Global Programme Director of the New Climate Economy project
  • “The message to leaders is clear. We don’t have to choose between economic growth and a safe climate. We can have both. We can choose better growth and a better climate.” – Commission Chair Felipe Calderon.

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