Better Growth, Better Climate report smashes economic myths ahead of NY Summit Media Release

Sep 16, 2014 - 2:00pm

As attention turns to next week’s UN Climate Summit in New York, The Climate Institute looks forward to what the Australian government will say about its climate strategy and whether it will take into account findings from reports like the one released today highlighting the need to combine climate and economic strategies.

“This report highlights that in the 21st century you cannot divorce climate and economic strategy. It smashes myths around climate/growth trade-offs, energy poverty and infrastructure decisions,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute, who will be in New York next week.

“The report is an important contribution to global initiatives. It includes critical lessons for Australia as it makes key energy, infrastructure and climate decisions, including how it will engage in international discussions on post 2020 actions, targets, and agreements.”

The Better Growth, Better Climate: New Climate Economy report was produced by a global commission of leaders from government, business and finance, and advised by some of the world’s leading economists. The report finds that population growth, massive urbanisation, and technological change mean that “under any circumstances the next 15 years will see major structural transformations in the global economy.”

“This report bells the cat on the phony argument that nations, investors and companies are facing a choice between business-as-usual and climate action. It finds that a low carbon growth path can lead to as much prosperity as the high carbon one especially when account is taken of benefits from greater energy security, to cleaner air and improved health.”

The Commission sets out a 10-point global action plan to drive a strong growth and lower carbon economy. Recommended measures can deliver significant economic benefits, even in the next five years. Recommendations include:

  • Integrate climate into core economic decision making processes
  • Phase out subsidies for fossil fuels, agricultural inputs and urban sprawl incentives
  • Accelerate the shift away from polluting coal fired power generation
  • Introduce strong, predictable carbon prices
  • Reduce capital costs for low-carbon infrastructure investments

“The report finds high-carbon growth is proving increasingly costly and not the answer for a healthy economy and addressing poverty. In the 15 countries with the highest carbon emissions the damage to health from poor air quality is valued at an average of over 4 per cent of GDP alone. In China this is 10 per cent.”

“This report is a challenging one for our government, which in many ways is moving in the opposite direction to that recommended and that being taken by more and more countries.” 

“For the New York Summit, we look forward the substance of comments made, rather than who makes them, the Prime Minister or the Minister for Foreign Affairs.”

“We will be looking for a recommitment to the international goal of avoiding 2°C warming and an independent and transparent process for our new post 2020 targets Australia is due to indicate to other countries next year.”

“In international commitments and in domestic policy, like the Renewable Energy Target, Australia needs to integrate the goal recognised in this report and elsewhere by the OECD and IMF that we have to be decarbonising our economies if we are serious about global climate goals,” concluded Connor. 

For more information

Kristina Stefanova | Communications Director, The Climate Institute | 0407 004 037

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