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Climate change and government: Why protecting the environment is better for economic growth

10 February 2016


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Time is running out to work on climate change, it seems – 15 years to be precise.

Whilst many believe creating a greener world would ruin government coffers, HE Felipe Calderon, former President of Mexico & Chair of the Global Commission on Economy and Climate, proved the opposite addressing the 2016 World Government Summit.

“We conducted surveys, which came up with a bold and solid conclusion: yes, it is possible to have better growth and climate at the same time, [but] to do that we need to take action within the next 15 years. This is the last window of opportunity human kind probably has,” he stated.

Calderon highlighted three key systems, which had to change:

1) City models:

Reduce the number of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through reduced car use by building integrated transportation systems.

 

2) Land uses:

Around 20% of the total emission is attributable to deforestation and soil degradation – this could be stopped by using innovation to provide food.

 

3) Energy

Energy intensity has to be reduced on the consumer level [in homes, for example], as well as in business [factories].

“If we offer an economic benefit for reducing CO2 emissions it becomes a win-win situation,” said Calderon, adding that solar energy today was 80% cheaper than 12 years ago, and renewable energy would become even more competitive than fossil fuels.

“We need to cancel subsidies for fossil fuels and allocate that money into R&D for renewables,” he said, adding that $89 trillion would have to be spent on conventional energy infrastructure, whilst it would cost $93 trillion to do the same with renewables.

“It’s a tiny difference lets do the right thing,” he said.