It has been a big week in the climate change world - the Forest Stewardship Council paper had its Triennial General Assembly; the IPCC weather forecast for 2050 has been trending; leaders are gathering for pre-talks ahead of the UNFCCC climate week New York; and Lord Stern has spoken.
Lord Nicholas Stern has a CV you could divide in 10 and each 1/10th would be impressive. Commissioned by the UK government in 2006, the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, or better known as 'the Stern Report', is one of the seminal reports on climate change. The facts, opinions, and parameters such as his discount rate of carbon’s future impact, in the 700-page report are still upheld and measured against.
This week Lord Stern makes a compelling case on a New Climate Economy. Worldwide there is almost near unanimity that we must curb carbon emissions, but positively this can be done while also enhancing economic growth. The focus is on cities and especially investments in sustainable innovations and pricing carbon.
Cities can be planned and designed sustainably with better quality of life, mass public transport, green spaces and better amenities – all of which will also boost economic growth. Sustainable development, green growth, could reduce the capital requirements for urban infrastructure by more than $3tn (£1.85bn) over the next 15 years, the report found.
The New Climate Economy report may be the most optimistic document on climate change and does not fall victim to the usual ‘planet in peril’ press. Green Growth is possible.
“If we choose low-carbon investment we can generate strong, high-quality growth – not just in the future, but now. But if we continue down the high-carbon route, climate change will bring severe risks to long-term prosperity,” said the study’s co-chair Lord Stern, a former World Bank economist.