chapter  7
44 Pages

Decoupling Economic Growth from Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Efforts to date by the nations of the world to reduce environmental pressures, such as greenhouse gas emissions, have largely been motivated by a wide range of factors in addition to improving environmental conditions. These include: improving resource productivity, reducing negative impacts on public health, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and improving industry competitiveness, particularly in capturing growing global markets in ‘clean’, ‘green’ products and services. However, as this book, and the many resources that have informed it, are showing, one of the leading drivers for change in the coming decades will be the costs to economies around the world of not acting to reduce a range of environmental pressures. In the case of greenhouse gas emissions, valuing the costs of inaction for nations and the global economy is a very complex task, and few studies proclaim to have quantified it. The 2006 review of the economics of climate change by UK economist Sir Nicholas Stern, The Stern Review,1 is one of the few studies that have made a solid attempt at this, resulting in significant international attention. This area was further investigated in 2008 by a study from the OECD, The Costs of Inaction on Key Environmental Challenges.2