Climate Policies May Grow World Economy

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MIDLOTHIAN, Virginia — A new study by the World Bank said that with a few changes to climate policies aimed at cutting carbon pollution, the global economy will actually grow.

The report, “Climate-Smart Development: Adding Up the Benefits of Actions that Help Build Prosperity, End Poverty and Combat Climate Change,” plans to reduce emissions from countries in the European Union, China, Brazil, India, Mexico and the United States.

In the report, the Bank found that if the targeted countries embraced three policies for clean transportation and energy efficiency in industry, the annual benefits by 2030 “include an estimated gross domestic product growth of between $1.8 trillion and $2.6 trillion.”

In addition, the report found that “these policies alone would account for 30 percent of the total reduction needed in 2030” to reduce the rate of global warming.

The report also found that implementing these policies would reduce crop losses by 1 million tons to 1.5 million tons and would avoid 355 million metric tons to 520 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.

The policies that were examined include new systems to create energy out of methane gas in Brazil, solar power for farming in Mexico and more efficient cookstoves in China.

The analysis of these policies estimates that implementing them would produce around 200,000 jobs globally.

Implementing these policies would help the world to avoid 94,000 premature pollution-related deaths and would save around 16 billion kilowatt-hours of energy, or the equivalent of taking two billion cars off the road.

This report collaborates the findings of the recent International Energy Agency report, “Energy Technology Perspectives.” In that report, the International Energy Agency found that that an aggressive effort to deploy renewable energy, energy efficiency and storage to keep global warming “below the dangerous threshold of two degrees Celsius would be astoundingly cost-effective” and would result in savings of around $71 trillion by 2050.

“These policies make economic sense,” said Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank president. “This report removes another false barrier, another false argument not to take action against climate change.”

Kim added that the report’s findings revealed that the right policy choices could deliver additional benefits to nations in terms of life, economy, agriculture and energy in addition to reducing emissions that may combat climate change.

The report analyzed that the impacts of these countries adopting policies would include a 30 percent to 45 percent improvement in the efficient use of fuel in vehicles, a reduction of energy use in  industrial sectors by up to 53 percent and a 28 percent improvement in the energy intensity of buildings by 2030.

The three policies would account for 30 percent of the total reductions needed by 2030 to limit global warming to the internationally agreed target.

Rachel Kyte, the Vice President of the World Bank and Special Envoy for Climate Change, said that the report reinforced the economic argument for action on climate policies and showed that working to reduce emissions would not necessarily cause economic sacrifice.

“Governments should take a close look at the evidence in this report,” Kyte said.

Monica Newell

Sources: RTCC, Think Progress, The Guardian, IISD
Photo: Energy Efficient Company

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Monica Newell

Monica is a BORGEN Magazine writer based in Midlothian, Virginia.

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