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Almost all green actions have an economic benefit, report claims

Almost all green actions have an economic benefit, report claims

Almost all green actions have an economic benefit, report claims

A new research paper has dismissed the view that measures to tackle climate change are not economically viable, claiming instead that "almost all actions" to stop global warming will help countries deliver create growth.

Published today (July 13th) by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and London School of Economics and Political Science, the study set out to discover what would happen to countries' domestic economies were they to commit to keeping global temperatures at no more than two degrees celcius above pre-industrial levels.

Almost all green actions have an economic benefit, report claims

It found that most emissions cuts to this extent will "lead to domestic economic benefits that outweigh the costs for individual countries, even before the avoided risks of dangerous climate change are taken into account".

These gains include improved air quality, increased energy efficiency and the ability to apply innovations from clean technology in other areas of industry, which "more than justify the costs of decarbonisation", the study said.

Additionally, it claimed the upfront cost of switching to low-carbon energy sources such as wind and solar power will be more than paid back in the future as prices fall and demand for fossil fuels diminishes.

Finally, the study cast aspersions on the claim that countries will benefit most from minimising their own action on climate change and free-riding on the efforts of other nations. It pointed out that cooperation will be necessary to create a global low-carbon economy that delivers for everyone.

Fergus Green, Grantham Research Institute policy analyst and research advisor, and author of the paper, commented: "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."

In an interview with BusinessGreen, Mr Green added that the purpose of the paper was to frame the climate change debate in purely economic terms, and to lay down the gauntlet to "interests and institutions and ideas formed in the fossil fuel age".

He conceded, however, that the upfront cost of switching to low-carbon energy sources remains the greatest barrier for organisations to go green today, with the economic benefits only surfacing in the medium and long term.

"The distribution of cost factors and the distribution of cost time make the politics of action very difficult," Mr Green told the publication. "That's where a lot of the barriers lie."

Interested in improving the sustainability of your business today? Read our feature 7 simple ways to make your office greener, or learn more about the environmental benefits of working with Aurora Pro Clean.

 

Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of ThinkStock