Economic benefits of tackling climate change outweigh cost

13th July 2015

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  • Renewable ,
  • Conventional ,
  • Generation ,
  • Mitigation


Liam Griffin

The economic benefits of mitigating climate change far outweigh the costs even before the avoided risks of climate change are taken into account, an academic claimed today.

Countries that reduce fossil fuel use will see benefits such as better air quality and health, increased energy efficiency and security, and improved ecosystem services, the paper points out.

Investments in low-carbon energy will likely be more than paid back by the falling cost of renewable sources and by reduced spending on fossil fuels, it states.

Author, Fergus Green, is a research adviser for Lord Nicholas Stern and the paper was published by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the ESRC centre for climate change economics and policy at the LSE.

Countries should work together to bring down the costs of moving to a low-carbon economy and share the benefits that local carbon investment would deliver, it recommends.

One of the main reasons why politicians are not doing enough to tackle global warming is that most of the costs of action would fall on powerful interests, who are mainly focused on the short-term whereas the benefits are biased toward the medium and long-term and would mostly accrue to the public at large, the paper suggests.

“The findings of this research suggest that the traditional assumption that action on climate change is a net cost is false. Those who think there is an incentive for countries to ‘free-ride’ on the climate protection provided by others are very much mistaken,” said Green.

“Countries should see the climate talks in Paris this December as an opportunity to work with each other to deliver as quickly as possible the mutual gains that can result from decarbonising the economy,” he added.

Last week, a report by the New Climate Economy identified 10 areas where stronger climate action could also bring significant economic benefits.


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