Real progress on climate change will not be achieved until heads of state, governments and ministers of finance see the global problem as a major economic challenge, according to a paper published by the Centre for International Governance Innovation.
The “Institutional Arrangements for Climate Finance” paper says organizations are beginning to realize climate change is not exclusively an environmental issue. While the estimates of the costs of climate change vary, there is consensus that it will likely be between one and two percent of global GDP.
The authors, Jessica Boyle, David Runnalls and Dave Sawyer, recommend the world begin to slow the rate of CO2 emissions well before 2020. Achieving such a goal will require the involvement of finance ministers and heads of government early in the planning for the Conference of Parties 21 on Climate Change to be held in December 2015 in Paris.
The authors also recommend the G8 and G20 schedule discussions on the $100 billion that was committed at the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to a more concrete stage. The authors note that global climate finance remains complex, largely because there’s no agreed upon definition as to what it means. As a result, it can be difficult to trace flows, let alone trends and impacts over time, the paper says.
Finally, the paper says the private sector and government will need to design mechanisms that increase the amount of financing available for the global transition to a low-carbon economy.
A report released in June 2013 by the United Nations Environment Programme predicts extreme weather events, water scarcity, biodiversity loss and other global warming-related changes in the environment will increasingly affect businesses and how they operate.
Businesses that adapt by developing goods and services that can reduce the impacts of climate change, water scarcity and emissions as well as seize the demand for sustainable technologies, investments and services will be successful, the GEO-5 report says.
The GEO-5 report builds on UNEP’s fifth edition of its Global Environmental Outlook, a report released in 2012 that warned the world continues on its unsustainable path in spite of hundreds of agreed-upon environmental goals.