“There are golden opportunities for governments to make the right decisions in the coming 10-15 years to boost growth and meet climate goals”, says Anthony Cox, Deputy Director at the OECD Environment Directorate.
He comes to Stockholm 6 December 2017 to present the report “Investing in Climate, Investing in Growth” at a seminar co-hosted by Mistra Geopolitics.
The OECD report “Investing in Climate, Investering in Growth” provides an assessment of how governments can generate inclusive economic growth in the short term, while making progress towards climate goals to secure sustainable long-term growth. It describes the development pathways required to meet the Paris Agreement objectives and underlines the value of well-aligned policy packages in mobilising investment and social support for the transition while enhancing growth. The report also sets out the structural, financial and political changes needed to enable the transition.
When bringing the climate and economic growth agendas together, interesting things happen. For Anthony Cox the message is clear: The opportunities are far more obvious and important than the obstacles. He describes it like a golden opportunity for governments to re-invigorate their economies while doing important structural reforms. He gives an example.
“Infrastructure is a good example. Many economies face enormous challenges here. The roads and railways are old, cities are growing. Those systems need reforms anyway. The timing is perfect to invest in low-carbon infrastructure that meets the need for this century and not reflects the last one.”
Anthony Cox emphasizes the importance of growth, and he argues that it is the quality of growth that matters.
“The faster we leave the high-carbon pathway the better. The high level of pollutants in our cities might be the reason for citizens to support tough decisions towards clean solutions. I think that the best arguments for most people towards investments in a low-emissions future does not necessarily have to do with climate but with improving day-to-day life.”
The transitions needed require brave leaders and Cox has a clear message to the politicians.
“The leaders must turn their motives and communication towards other areas as well as climate change. Clean air and fresh environments could be such areas but also the changing labour market and consequences for our future pensions.”
In the report, we learn that boosting economic growth, improving productivity and reducing inequalities can be addressed without following the high-emission pathway. On the contrary, we need to generate growth – by fiscal and structural reforms – while at the same time providing near-time economic, employment and health benefits. And the short term cost should rather be seen as a fantastic investment opportunity, Cox argues.
“We show that such a climate-compatible policy package can increase long-term GDP by up to 2.8 % across the G20 in 2050.”
And it could be even more. Anthony Cox continues.
“If we take into account the positive impact of avoiding climate damage, the net effect on GDP in the same period can rise to 5%. We have a golden opportunity to make sure that the growth of the 21st century is not just replicating the growth models of the last century.”
Author: Eva Krutmeijer