Usually, when we talk about the potential for electrifying everything, or going 100% renewable, someone will pipe up and argue that it's just too expensive.
But they are wrong.
Never mind the fact that such naysayers invariably underestimate the potentially catastrophic moral, social and economic costs of climate chaos, they also tend to forget that there's an awful lot of money to be made in large-scale industrial revolutions.
In fact, a new report from The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate argues that a more aggressive path to lower carbon economies could add a whopping $26 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Looking at five key areas—energy, cities, food and land use, water, and industry—the reports authors argue that we're at a pivotal moment where we can either choose to seize the opportunities before us, or we can wait and let the costs of inaction keep wracking up. Among other tantalizing benefits, the report highlights the opportunity to:
* Generate over 65 million new low-carbon jobs in 2030
* Avoid over 700,000 premature deaths from air pollution
* Generate an estimated US$2.8 trillion in government revenues per year
And it recommends that policy makers focus their efforts in the next few years on carbon pricing and disclosure; investments in sustainable infrastructure; unlocking private capital and innovation; and ensuring equity and a 'just transition'.
Former President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, who is Honorary Chair of the Commission, put the promise of the report like this:
“This is more than just a Report. It is a manifesto for how we can turn better growth and a better climate into reality. It is time we decisively legislate, innovate, govern, and invest our way to a fairer, safer, more sustainable world.”
If only current world leaders were similarly determined in their rhetoric...