LET us put aside the question of whether carbon emissions need to be reduced. If we assume that we do have to take action, there are cheap policies and expensive policies. Our (UK) government has chosen the expensive approach. By trying to pick technological winners and subsidising huge programmes, such as the proposed nuclear power station, the government is taking action that will lead to higher bills and lower reductions in emissions. Instead, we should have simple, straightforward measures aimed at pricing carbon emissions and then allow businesses, households and energy companies to decide how best to reduce emissions.
Professor Philip Booth, Editorial and Programme Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, UK
IF we are to bring about decarbonisation, then we need to reform global economic governance. To do this, we need three things. Firstly, we need a global carbon price. Setting higher prices for goods and services with a large carbon footprint provides a greater incentive to reduce emissions. Rules for international trade and investment should also take account of climate change. Despite having made little progress in recent years, the World Trade Organisation remains a forum in which global regulations are designed and implemented. Concluding the Doha Round would allow more green issues to be added to the agenda going forward. Finally, if long-term, low-carbon investments are to be encouraged, it is necessary to reform the international financial system in such a way that commercial banks invest more in low-carbon projects. Current regulations leave little to no scope for doing so. Setting our sights high with regard to the Paris agreement is only the first step. But this will not be enough, as it will take many more actors to step up to the plate if we are to reform global economic governance. We need to keep moving forward after Paris.
The German Development Institute
DYNAMIC change is happening in energy supply, but the change needs to happen faster. There are no major economic or technical barriers to moving towards 100% renewable energy by 2050. The renewable energy sector is delivering change, but political action is needed to ensure it happens in time. It is up to political and business leaders to steer industry, influence consumers and stimulate markets towards renewable energy and energy efficiency.
CLIMATE change is a big problem, and it needs big technologies. New nuclear, new gas and, if costs, come down, new offshore wind will all help us meet the challenge of decarbonisation. But it is important to pause and answer this question: ‘what are we decarbonising for?’ Climate action is about our future economic security. But climate change is a global problem, not a local one. Action by one state will not solve the problem. It’s what we do together that counts. But it will not be solved by a group of over-tired politicians and negotiators in a conference centre. It will take action by businesses, civil society, cities, regions and countries. Let’s be honest with ourselves, though, we don’t have all the answers to decarbonisation today. We must develop technologies that are both cheap and green. We need to work towards a market where success is driven by your ability to compete in a market. Not by your ability to lobby Government.
Amber Rudd, the UK Government’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
THE need to reduce global GHG emissions is not news, but there is an increasing urgency of what we have known for decades: we must transition to a low-carbon, green and resource-efficient global economy to mitigate the risk of dangerous climate change. It is apparent, however, that a key player in this transition has been largely overlooked: the financial sector. It has a pivotal role to play in reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases at the required pace and scale, because first, and perhaps most obviously, that’s where the money is. Large amounts of capital are needed for investment in the rapid development of low-carbon energy infrastructure, particularly in developing and emerging economies. The potential role that institutional investors can play in addressing climate change, however, goes far beyond the issue of infrastructure finance. Institutional investors are more than infrastructure financiers: they are owners and creditors of large segments of the global economy. And quite simply, if institutional investors do not systematically reallocate capital from high-carbon to low-carbon investments, particularly in corporate equity and debt, a transition to a low-carbon economy will be virtually impossible.
Achim Steiner, executive director of UNEP and under-secretary general of the UN