Climate action could deliver $26trn boost to global economy

The world stands on the brink of a “use it or lose it” moment for climate action, and could enjoy at least $26trn (£20trn) in economic benefits by 2030 through clean growth.


That is according to a report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, which also estimates that over 65 million low-carbon jobs could be generated by that time – equivalent to the UK and Egypt’s combined workforce.

In addition to the economic benefits, the think tank forecasts that bold climate action could help avoid over 700,000 premature deaths from air pollution every year by the end of the next decade.

“We are at a unique ‘use it or lose it’ moment,” said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former finance minister of Nigeria and co-chair of the Global Commission. “$26trn and a more sustainable planet are on offer if we act decisively now.

“Policymakers should take their feet off the brakes, sending a clear signal that the new growth story is here and comes with exciting economic and market opportunities.” 

The report was released last week at the UN headquarters in New York City and comes ahead of this week’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

It highlights “tremendous technological and market progress” shifting towards a low-carbon economy over the last decade, which has given rise to new jobs, economic savings, competitiveness, and improved wellbeing.

The report also forecasts that subsidy reform and carbon pricing alone could deliver annual government revenues of $2.8trn by 2030 – equivalent to the total GDP of India today.

To reap the benefits, it argues that governments, businesses and finance leaders ramp up efforts on carbon pricing, and move towards mandatory disclosures of climate-related financial risks.

In addition, stakeholders must accelerate investment in sustainable infrastructure, engage more with the private sector, and build a people-centred approach that shares the gains equitably.

“The purpose of this report is to demonstrate how to accelerate the shift to this new growth path”, report lead author, Helen Mountford, said.

“It lays out the benefits of doing so, the challenges ahead, and the clear accelerators or actions, that can be taken to fully reap the rewards of stronger, cleaner, and more equitable growth.” 


Image credit | iStock

Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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