Letter from business and government leaders to the G20 and Rio+20
- 18 June 2012
This week world leaders are meeting in two historic forums: the G20 summit in Mexico and the Rio+20 Summit. There is currently a convergence of two great threats to the global economy: a new, unprecedented and long-term financial crisis; and our edging ever nearer towards the precipice of irreversible climate change.
For some, acting on climate change and investing in the low carbon economy are luxuries the world cannot currently afford. This is using old thinking to confront new problems.
In fact, at a time when government and business leaders everywhere are calling for strategies that deliver growth, we have an historic opportunity before us to lead the world out of recession and into a more stable, sustainable future. This is the time for a green industrial revolution led by real investment in clean technologies and infrastructure. The 'Clean Revolution' is essential if we want to ensure we save our economies from the crippling costs of runaway climate change, and create meaningful jobs and enhance energy security.
The Clean Revolution is already happening, both here and around the world. In the midst of a double-dip recession, the UK’s green economy sector is growing at 5% per year. The Danish state wind power sector saw profits rise 200% from 2007 to 2011. In China – where solar panel exports are now worth more than US exports of beef, corn and chicken combined – there are more than 1 million jobs in renewable energy, a figure rising by 100,000 each year.
Businesses are using smart ICT to successfully drive low carbon growth. New sustainable urban design is transforming communities and skylines. Clean energy now creates more jobs per joule than coal or gas.
Change is happening – but we need to adapt a lot faster. Improving energy efficiency in buildings could generate 3 million jobs in Europe and the US alone. By the end of the decade, the low carbon market could triple in value to over US$ 2 trillion. Building our clean tech future is not an optional extra. It is an essential investment. If we do not seize the opportunity, our economies will stagnate and be condemned to terminal decline.
World leaders face a clear choice: duck the challenge and embark on an uncertain future marked by long-term market instability and cyclical political crises; or embrace a new future founded on new opportunities, security and prosperity.
Today we ask them - and leaders from the worlds of government and business everywhere - to join us. We need bold leaders to step forward and set out this new vision, to drive innovation and transformation, to make smart investment choices for present and future generations.
We need the Clean Revolution.