The world is not making nearly enough progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the goals for limiting global warming agreed at the Paris climate summit in 2015, a group of political and business leaders has warned. The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate said on Wednesday the next decade or so would be “a unique ‘use it or lose it’ moment in economic history”, creating an opportunity to put the world on a path of low-emissions growth. If that opportunity was not grasped, however, the group warned that “by 2030 we will pass the point by which we can keep global average temperature rise to well below 2C”, the objective set at Paris.
It is calling for a price of $40-$80 a tonne on carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, well above today’s price of about $23.70 for allowances in the EU’s emissions trading system. Lord Nicholas Stern, a co-chair of the commission who led an influential review of the economics of climate change for the British government in 2006, said it was “very urgent” for governments to put in place policy frameworks over the next few years that would encourage investment in emissions-reducing infrastructure, because they were moving “nowhere near fast enough”. The commission is formed of business leaders including chairs and chief executives from Unilever, Royal Dutch Shell, HSBC and Schneider Electric, and politicians including Felipe Calderón, former president of Mexico, and Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand. Since its first report in 2014, it has been making the case that cutting emissions can strengthen economic growth rather than undermine it.
As it published its latest report on Wednesday, titled Unlocking the inclusive growth story of the 21st century, Lord Stern said the plunging cost of renewable energy, and the emergence of electric vehicles, battery storage and other technologies, meant that the net benefits of shifting to a low or zero-carbon economy were likely to be even greater.