The Global Climate Action Summit, held last September in San Francisco, CA, provided an opportunity to bring business and government leaders together—along with scientists, investors, and, students—to find out what is happening in the world of sustainability, and most important, build enthusiasm and confidence in the entire sustainability movement
A prediction which came out of this meeting and caught my attention was that if we take climate action steps now, it can pay off big later, with climate action pouring as much as US$26 billion into the world’s economy by 2030. This $26 billion can create as many as 65 million new “low-carbon” jobs and generate as much as $2.8 billion in new government revenues.
Take Steps Toward Sustainability
These predictions come from studies created by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate (GCEC) and its flagship project the New Climate Economy. The organization was set up in 2013 by seven countries: Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Its goal, as stated on its website, is to “help governments, businesses, and society make better-informed decisions on how to achieve economic prosperity and development, while also addressing climate change.”
The commission has the following suggestions to meet this goal:
- Set a price on carbon of up to $80 per ton of CO2 released into the atmosphere by 2020.
- End subsidies that support fossil fuels or encourage harmful agricultural practices.
- Require companies to disclose any practices which can slowly result in global temperature changes, droughts, floods, agricultural loss, and tropical storms.
- Double the amount of money banks and other financial institutions are investing in sustainable infrastructure to as much as $100 billion annually.
- Encourage all Fortune 500 companies to adopt “science-based targets” by 2020 that align with their business operations. Science-based targets are goals created by organizations to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they generate.
Invest in a Worthwhile Cause
It is going to cost money for these actions and financial returns to materialize. That $26 billion generated into the world economy will not just happen on its own. Additionally, more companies and organizations will need to make changes in their business operations to promote sustainability and commit to those changes.
However, GCEC’s biggest concern is not money or changes, it is time. We need to start taking steps now to turn these predictions into reality. So, what can we do individually to promote sustainability and by doing so, the world’s economy?
Let’s start by getting involved with the two organizations discussed here, the Global Climate Action Summit and The New Climate Economy. Both are actively implementing methods to achieve economic growth by addressing the need for sustainability and the risks posed by climate change.
Another option is to get involved with “sustainability investing. “Many major banks and brokerage houses now offer investment opportunities in organizations developing promising technologies that address climate change and other environmental issues. Your investment in these organizations can make a difference.