According to The New Climate Economy report by The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, global warming can be halted more easily than Governments and companies realise. Volatile oil prices, lower renewable energy prices and a number of other global trends have established a powerful platform for greenhouse gas emissions reductions and maintain economic growth. The Commission includes Felipe Calderon, Former President of Mexico, Nicholas Stern, Professor of Economics and Government at the London School of Economics and Ingrid Bonde, Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Vattenfall.
The report’s authors suggest that more than 95% of the emissions cuts required to prevent runaway global warming could be achieved by 2030 if, as the report recommends, Governments collaborate more. According to Felipe Calderon, the report shows that a goal that was thought to be distant is within reach, and that global prosperity and what it calls a “safe” climate can co-exist.
The traditional view has been that it is simply too expensive for many developed (and developing) countries to tackle climate change. The dramatic fall in the cost of renewables (75% since 2000) clearly challenge this view, along with the 60% reduction in the costs of energy storage. This now means that solar power systems can compete with fossil fuels in an increasing number of countries, and wind power is similarly competitive.
The recent fall in oil prices has accelerated fossil fuel consumption subsidy reforms in a number of countries, which in 2013 totalled $548 billion. While oil prices won’t stay low long term, the report postulates that they will remain volatile which makes clean energy systems more attractive.
Michael Jacobs, one of the report’s authors stated that the pledges that countries have made to date weren’t representative of the gains that were possible. Cities and countries are urged to collaborate more on raising energy efficiency standards, reducing emissions from shipping and aircraft and increasing clean energy investment. Increasing the investment in energy efficiency could realise an additional $18 Trillion in global economic output by 2035.