Climate policies could lift economy

Benefits Improving energy efficiency could boost economic output

LONDON (Reuters) — Global economic output could rise by as much as an additional $2.8 trillion a year, or 2.2 percent, by 2030 if government policies improve energy efficiency, waste management and public transport, according to a World Bank report.


The report, produced with philanthropic group ClimateWorks Foundation, analyzed the benefits of ambitious policies to cut emissions from transport, industrial and building sectors as well as from waste and cooking fuels in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, the United States and the European Union.


It found a shift to low-carbon transport and improved energy efficiency in factories, buildings and appliances could increase global growth in gross domestic product by an extra $1.9 trillion, or 1.5 percent, a year by 2030.


If financing and technology investment increased, global GDP could grow by an additional $2.8 trillion, or 2.2 percent a year by 2030, the World Bank said.


Climate policies could also avert at least 94,000 premature deaths a year from pollution-related diseases by 2030, improve crop productivity and prevent around 8.5 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases being emitted — the same as taking around two billion cars off the road.


For example, if China deployed 70 million low-carbon cook stoves, it could avoid around one million premature deaths from pollution and reap almost $11 billion in economic benefits, the report showed.


“These interventions should seem like no-brainers to governments around the world,” World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim told reporters on a conference call.


“The report removes another false barrier, another false argument not to take action against climate change,” he added.


In March, a report by a UN panel of scientists projected that the effects of global warming could cut global economic output by between 0.2 and two percent a year by damaging human health, disrupting water supplies and raising sea levels.


However, many countries believe this is an underestimate because it excludes risks of catastrophic changes, such as a Greenland ice melt or the collapse of coral reefs, which could cause massive economic losses.


To speed up action on climate change, United Nations’ secretary general Ban Ki-moon has invited heads of state, governments, businesses and civil society to a climate summit on Sept.23 in New York.