Calderon and Stern Pitch the Economic Gains in New Global Climate Commission — From Alhassan Y. Babal-waiz, ANA North America Editor and United Nations Correspondent

Filipe Calderon and Nicolas Stern shortly as the press launch of „The new Climate Economy“/Photo credit: Meron Tesfaye

Plans are afoot to outdoor a set of ideas aimed at changing the conventional narrative of climate change—from the scientific case to that of economic gains—come September 2014, when world leaders meet for yet another session of the United Nations General Assembly, during which they will set the agenda for next major United Nations Climate change conference in Paris in 2015.

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According to the United Nations Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists have established that combustion of fossil fuels is causing a rise in global temperatures and sea levels.

This has brought a whole new challenge to the fore — how to calibrate our actions on the environment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while gaining strong economic growth in return.

At a press briefing on the sidelines of the last World Bank Annual Ministerial Meetings, Mexico’s former president Felipe Calderon and British House of Lords member Nicolas Stern, pitched the joint-plans of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate to develop a win-win solution for curbing hazardous emissions while promoting economic growth.

Calderon, the commission’s chairman, said scientists have presented best research on climate change in the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the first part of which was released last month — with a certainty on human actions being the dominant cause of global warming since the mid-20th century.

„Now it’s time for the economists to make their case,“ said Calderon, who was once chairman of the state oil producer Petroleos Mexicanos.

Underscoring the upsides of its plans further, Lord Nicholas Stern, the commission’s vice chairman, said efficient use of energy could reduce greenhouse gas emissions than any other single current option and provide 30% to 40% of needed carbon reductions while also lowering energy bills for consumers.

Since his 2006 “Stern Report,” which warned of rising temperatures costing the world up to 20% of its economic output, the former World Bank’s chief economist recalled that lots of energy technologies have emerged — such as tidal power and smaller nuclear power plants.

However, many policymakers suspects that reducing emissions will dissipate economic growth, but Lord Stern argued that that’s not the case – as the commission will analyze the costs as well as financial savings of fighting climate change.

But Calderon and Stern are both aware of the challenges in getting the hot-button issue to pass through the increasingly contentious US congress —which hardly even passed a bi-partisan energy-efficiency bill backed by both environmental and business groups.

The commission’s $9 million „New Climate Economy“ study was commissioned by seven countries: Columbia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, South Korea, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. It will be undertaken by seven research groups on five continents, including the Washington-based World Resources Institute, which hosted the media briefing.




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