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Combating Climate Change with Renewable Energy can Drive Economic Growth, Says Global Commission

Renewable energy investing is expected to increase in the next 15 years, driving economic growth.

Renewable energy saw a major show of support yesterday ahead of next week’s UN summit to discuss tactics to combat climate change.

The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate issued a report titled “Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report” focused on revising economic policies over the next 15 years to better include renewable energy and promoting a shift from high to low carbon emissions.

The commission is an independent group commissioned by the governments of seven countries—Columbia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, and the U.K.—and headed up by former Mexican president Felipe Calderón.

Calderón made it clear that global leaders are well aware of the “serious risk” climate change poses and the misconceptions surrounding the fight to fix it.

“There is a general perception that taking responsible actions in order to tackle climate change could reduce economic growth and the creation of jobs or other goals,” he said. “Yes, it is possible to get economic growth and tackle climate change.”

While some are critical of the reports call for a carbon tax and claim that moving away from fossil fuels will kill jobs, it’s emphasized that true economic growth potential lies in the renewables sector.

“We are in a period of unprecedented expansion of energy demand,” the report reads. “Global energy use has grown by more than 50% since 1990, 134 and must keep growing to support continued development. A major wave of investment will be required to meet this demand: around $45 trillion will be required in 2015–2030 for key categories of energy infrastructure.”

The report is very clear, however, that the amount of money is not the key to proper growth: smart spending of these funds is critical.

Co-Chair of the report, Lord Nicholas Stern, drove this point home.

“The decisions we make now will determine the future of our economy and our climate,” he said. “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.”

Making these smart decisions, despite their crucial nature, won’t be easy.

“It would be naïve to say it will all be plain sailing,” Climate Group CEO Mark Kenber said, “but there are huge economic opportunities in the transition to a low carbon economy.”

The full report can be found here

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