New global commission connects climate change policy with results

As evidence mounts of human-induced climate change, a new global commission has been launched that will analyze the economic costs and benefits of acting on climate change.

The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate comprises leaders from government, finance and business from 14 countries, chaired by Felipe Calderón, Mexico's former president.

The commission is launching the New Climate Economy project, bringing together some of the world's foremost economic experts to examine how stronger economic performance can be supported by good climate policy.

The $8.9 million project aims to contribute to the global debate about economic policy, and to inform government, business and investment decisions.

"Climate impacts are rising and the evidence of warming is increasingly clear, but most economic analysis still does not properly factor in the increasing risks of climate change or the potential benefits of acting on it," said Calderón.

"We need urgently to identify how we can achieve economic growth and job creation while also reducing emissions and tackling climate change."

The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate is an independent initiative established by a group of seven countries: Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Korea, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. A partnership of research institutes from five continents will carry out the analysis.

"At a time when governments throughout the world are struggling to boost growth, increase access to energy and improve food security, it is essential that the full costs and benefits of climate policies are more clearly understood," said Lord Nicholas Stern, vice-chair of the commission and author of the "Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change."

The report, produced for the British government in 2006, was the first study to put a price tag on the cost of inaction on climate change.

"It cannot be a case of either achieving growth or tackling global warming," Stern said. "It must be both."

In addition to President Calderón, members of the commission, all of whom are serving in a personal capacity, include:

• Ingrid Bonde, Vattenfall CFO and deputy CEO
• Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation
• Helen Clark, head of the U.N. Development Program and former prime minister of New Zealand
• Daniel Doctoroff, chief executive officer and president of Bloomberg L.P.  
• Luísa Diogo, former prime minister of Mozambique
• S. (Kris) Gopalakrishnan, Infosys executive vice-chairman and president of the Confederation of Indian Industry
• Chad Holliday, Bank of America chairman
• Sri Mulyani Indrawati, World Bank managing director and COO and former finance minister of Indonesia
• Ricardo Lagos, former president of Chile
• Trevor Manuel, minister and chair of the planning commission and former finance minister of South Africa
• Takehiko Nakao, Asian Development Bank president
• Paul Polman, Unilever CEO  
• Nemat (Minouche) Shafik, IMF deputy managing director
• Lord Nicholas Stern, professor at the London School of Economics
• Zhu Levin, China International Capital Corporation president and CEO

An advisory panel of world-leading economists, including Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, will carry out an expert review of the work.

The research institutes in the partnership are the Climate Policy Initiative, Ethiopian Development Research Institute, Global Green Growth Institute, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, Stockholm Environment Institute, Tsinghua University and World Resources Institute.

The project will engage directly with key decision-makers in finance ministries and with major businesses and investors, including leading economic organizations, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. It will also invite contributions from a wide variety of academic, business and other institutions.

The New Climate Economy project will publish its comprehensive analysis in September 2014, a year before the culmination of negotiations for a new international climate agreement in Paris in 2015. The commission will then take its findings and recommendations directly to heads of government, finance and economic ministers, business leaders and investors throughout the world.

This article originally appeared at Globe-Net.

Zipper with cracked earth and grass image by Gts via Shutterstock.