Here's Why Strong Carbon Emission Reductions Could Bring Great Economic Gains

japanese container ship photo

photo: MiNe via flickr

While we sometimes hear that it's going to cost us all to combat climate change by making stringent emission reductions, according to research presented at the Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions, climate change presents a real opportunity for nations to reap economic benefits.

Terry Barker of the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research:But Only if Coordinated Globally...

There is some evidence that harder greenhouse gas targets and regulation may actually increase benefits through improved innovation and distribution of low carbon technologies, and increased revenues from taxes or permits. These revenues can be spent to further support new technology and to lower other indirect taxes, ensuring the fiscal neutrality of these measures.

The current global financial crisis must be seen as a timely stimulus to tackling climate change, not a hindrance. If all G20 countries adopted a Green New Deal similar to that proposed by President Obama, the world economy could be greatly strengthened, especially the sectors producing low-carbon technologies.

But global coordination is critical. Any single country’s New Deal may fail if its extra demand for goods and services are met with imports. If we act together, everyone’s exports will increase and we can recover employment much quicker.

You've Heard it Before: Costs of Not Stopping Climate Change Worse Than Doing So
The costs of inaction? Among the many studies presented over the three-day conference (at any given period over a dozen topics were being covered in separate sessions) were ones showing that labor productivity among outdoor workers in Delhi has already declined by 10% due to climate changes (a figure set to rise to 30% with a 2°C rise in temperature); and one showing that Japan's GDP could decline by 1.5-3.4% by 2085 due to more frequent and stronger storms forcing the nation's ports to close more often.

More: Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions
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