Combating climate change is a pro-growth, pro-economic recovery policy according to a survey of decision makers conducted by GlobeScan and released at the UN Conference of Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Poznan, Poland.
Three-quarters of the 1,000 experts from 115 countries agreed that “equitable economic growth and development and significant progress in combating climate change can be achieved at the same time,” according to the survey, which was conducted over a one month period in cooperation with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the International Development Research Center, Local Governments for Sustainability, the United Nations Environment Program and the World Bank, among others. Only 11% disagreed.
Those surveyed ranked improving energy conservation and efficiency as having the greatest potential impact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the short term among 17 specific approaches put forward. They ranked the removal of subsidies for carbon-intensive activities second.
Conservation, Efficiency, Carbon prices & Biodiversity
“Combating climate change is the stimulus package needed to power the planet out of its current malaise and set the stage for a 21st century ‘Green Economy’ – one that prizes resource efficiency, innovation and decent employment in developed and developing societies alike,” stated Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and executive director of UNEP.
One key hurdle to accelerating climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts exists, however: the price of carbon will have to rise significantly, according to survey respondents, to more than $50 per metric ton on average, nearly three times more than current prices of contracts traded on the European Climate Exchange.
Eight-eight percent of survey respondents ranked improving energy efficiency and conservation as the most attractive means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the long term, defined as 25 years. Twenty-nine percent ranked carbon capture and storage retrofits and nuclear technology as having the greatest potential long term impact. Twelve percent said the same of biofuels from food crops.
“The fact that these decision makers across the world don’t see any inherent conflict between the economy and climate action certainly challenges the governments meeting in Poznan to move forward in spite of the current economic crisis. And they’re saying the price of carbon needs to be increased in order to stimulate action on the ground,” commented GlobeScan chairman Doug Miller.
Survey results also reaffirmed the importance decision makers place on protecting biodiversity and the integrity of ecosystems in a survey conducted prior to COP 13 in Bali at the end of 2007. A majority– 64%–agreed that investing in protecting biodiversity and creating new financial mechanisms– 59%– as an incentive should be priorities in the near term.