Actions to combat climate change could cumulatively add at least US $26 trillion to the world economy until 2030, according to a study released on Wednesday that seeks to dispel fears that a shift from fossil fuels will push growth.
Last year, President Donald Trump affirmed that he will withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement because it will impose what he called “draconian financial and economic burdens” on his country.
In contrast, the Global Commission on Economics and Climate, which includes former heads of government, business leaders and economists, said there is an “unprecedented push” for greener growth that would increase jobs and improve the economy in many countries
Bold climate actions could generate at least US $ 26 trillion in cumulative net benefits from now until 2030, compared to doing things without major changes, according to the study.
“There is still the perception that a move towards a low (level) carbon path would be costly,” study lead author Helen Mountford told Reuters. “What we are trying to do with this report is to put an end to that idea once and for all,” he explained.
The commission’s study adds detailed projections from its first report issued in 2014 to highlight the economic opportunities for a change from fossil fuels.
Smarter investments in cleaner energy, cities, food and use of land, water and industries could generate 65 million new jobs by 2030, equivalent to the combined workforce in Egypt and the United Kingdom, according to the study.
A shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energies, such as wind and solar, could prevent 700,000 premature deaths from air pollution by 2030, he added.
Former Mexican President Felipe Calderón, honorary chairman of the commission, said it was “a manifesto on how we can generate better growth and make a better climate a reality,” he added.
Trump, who doubts that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of climate change and wants to promote the coal industry, has said that the 2015 Paris Agreement could cost 2.7 million US jobs by 2025.
However, the report predicts that US jobs lost in fossil fuels may be more than offset by an increase in employment in the renewable and construction sector.
The report added that “we are not making progress fast enough” to limit an increase in temperatures linked to more floods, heat waves, forest fires and sea level rise.