Global Government and Business Leaders Unveil New Climate Economy

holdtheworldEnvironmental and economic policies have almost always been at odds with each other. Many businesses and government groups see environmental legislation as stifling and overbearing, destroying jobs and preventing economic growth. But a new global council of environmental scientists and economists, led by an impressive cross section of world leaders and policymakers, hopes to allay those concerns.


The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate is composed of leaders from government, finance, and business. The commission is a partnership of seven economic and policy research institutes located in the U.S., China, Europe, India, Korea, and Ethiopia. It is overseen by an international council of former heads of government and finance ministers, as well as business leaders. 

Its flagship project is the New Climate Economy, which aims to produce better and more comprehensive evidence on whether strong economic performance can be supported by good environmental policy, and if so, how. The report, slated to be published in September 2014, will make recommendations on how the public and private sectors can achieve lower-carbon economic growth. The commission will then take its findings directly to heads of government and business leaders throughout the world in what the group calls a “systematic outreach strategy.”

Felipe Calderon, former president of Mexico and chair of the international council overseeing the project, said at a news conference in New York, “Most economic analysis still does not properly factor in the increasing risks of climate change or the potential benefits of acting on it.”

Calderon said there does not need to be a trade off of job creation in order to fight climate change. “We urgently need to identify how we can achieve economic growth and job creation while also reducing emissions and tackling climate change,” he said.

Calderon emphasized that the commission intends to approach its research without preconceived notions, and that it would draw its conclusions strictly from the data. “We are completely open to the scientific conclusions,” he said.

A partnership of research institutes across six continents will carry out the analysis:

  • Climate Policy Initiative
  • Ethiopian Development Research Institute
  • Global Green Growth Institute
  • Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations
  • Stockholm Environmental Institute
  • Tsinghua University
  • World Resources Institute

Other members of the oversight council include:

Ingrid Bonde Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Vattenfall Sweden
Sharan Burrow General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation Australia
Helen Clark Admnistrator, UN Development Progamme, and former Prime Minister of New Zealand New Zealand
Luísa Diogo Former Prime Minister of Mozambique, and Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Barclays Bank Mozambique Mozambique
S. Gopalakrishnan Executive Vice-Chairman, Infosys and President, Confederation of Indian Industry India
Chad Holliday Chairman, Bank of America U.S.
Sri Mulyani Indrawati Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, The World Bank, and former Finance Minister of Indonesia Indonesia
Ricardo Lagos Former President of Chile, and Professor at Large, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University Chile
Trevor Manuel Minister and Chairperson of the South African Planning Commission, and former Finance Minister South Africa
Takehiko Nakao President, Asian Development Bank Japan
Paul Polman Chief Executive Officer, Unilever Netherlands
Nemat Shafik Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund Egypt / UK / US
Nicholas Stern I G Patel Professor of Economics and Government, London School of Economics and Political Science U.K.
Zhu Levin President and Chief Executive Officer, China International Capital Corporation China

“At a time when governments throughout the world are struggling to boost economic growth, increase access to energy, and improve food security, it is essential that the full costs and benefits of climate policies are more clearly understood,” said Lord Nicholas Stern, vice-chair of the commission and author of 2006 Stern Review, a 700-page report on the effect of global warming on the world economy. “It cannot be a case of either achieving growth of tackling global warming. It must be both.”

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