UK government says global climate deal will be good for the economy

Clare Saxon Ghauri
Reading time: 3 minutes
9 September 2014

LONDON: The UK government today published a report explaining why agreeing a global climate deal will heighten economic prosperity and competitiveness in the UK, the EU and beyond, ahead of the UN Climate Summit in New York this month.

The HM Government report from the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, sets out the nation’s vision for the global deal which is expected to be agreed at climate talks in Paris next year, outlining exactly why it will be so good for the UK economy.

'Paris 2015: Securing our prosperity through a global climate change agreement' urges nations to act urgently to guarantee success in Paris, in order to secure a low carbon future and avoid the most dangerous impacts of runaway climate change.

An agreement will drive ambition from all countries to keep global warming below the 2 degree limit, provide the policy confidence needed to attract international investment in low carbon infrastructure, innovation and energy efficiency, and secure a cost-effective, clean economy, according to the report.

Authors explain how “’low-carbon’ is no longer a niche sector – it is a booming business”, and highlight how net investments in new renewable capacity exceeded those in the fossil fuel sector for the fourth consecutive year in 2013.

The report also warns of the costs, risks and impacts associated with climate change on the UK’s markets, supply chains, resources and society.

To effectively take advantage of the growing low carbon economy and tackle climate change, the UK government states the ideal 2015 deal should:

  • Commit all countries to delivering ambitious and fair emission reduction targets.
  • Spur countries to make a low carbon transition in a way that reflects their economic situation, providing support to those who need it.
  • Clearly track progress, ‘build trust’ and encourage greater targets.

UK Government’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, stressed that the compelling economic messages from the report will be key to the UK’s stance at global climate talks, such as the UN Climate Summit on September 23, and COP 20 in Lima later in the year. He said: “You can go green and continue to prosper and develop – that is the strong message we will be taking to the global community in the coming months.”

carbon pricing global

Image: Countries and regions with developed mechanisms for pricing carbon, © 2014, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank

The report spotlights the almost 500 climate laws that have been passed in 66 of the world’s biggest emitting countries, and the 40 nations already putting a price on carbon. Positive in the mounting international ambition and business support needed to secure progress toward Paris 2015, Ed Davey added: “There is an increasing political will from big and small countries alike to tackle climate change both through domestic action and in the international negotiations. And it is not just governments who want a deal, there is wide spread support from businesses, NGOs and campaign groups both in the UK and internationally.

I’m confident that the momentum is building to make Paris next year a decisive point in history. A moment when the world comes together and agrees action that will move it towards a safer, healthier and more prosperous future.”

While tangible climate and clean energy commitments have begun to emerge from economic leaders including China and the US, there has been concern from business communities at the lack of clarity over EU’s energy and climate policies beyond 2020, which is affecting investor confidence.

The EU is set to achieve its 20% emission reduction by 2020 target, and is hoped to confirm a domestic target for 2030 of more than 40% at the European Council meeting this October.  

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, agrees the UK’s ambition is key, but that EU commitment and business support is also critical to success in Paris: “A global deal is within reach. But only if world leaders get stuck in at the UN Climate Summit later this month, businesses publicly support them, and the EU agrees a tough climate and energy package for 2030, as well as EU ETS reform this October.

“In the UK, there is cross-party consensus on this welcome report from DECC. The nation wants a global deal that reflects economic realities around the world and grabs the many opportunities of a low carbon world. Because new, efficient and low carbon technologies will be the lifeblood of Europe’s economic recovery, creating energy security, sustainable growth and jobs for decades to come. Ambitious climate policy is clearly key to UK and EU competitiveness and security. So let’s work together to achieve a global climate deal, real growth, and a better future for all.”

Convened by The Climate Group, this year's Climate Week NYC is the collaborative space for all related events in support of the UN Climate Summit. The summits are a unique platform for business and government leaders to act on climate and low carbon growth, paving the way ahead to Paris 2015. For a full list of Climate Week NYC events, please visit or join the conversation on social media using #CWNYC.

Read Paris 2015: Securing our prosperity through a global climate change agreement

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