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Investments to tackle climate crisis make ‘very good economic sense’: COP26 president

Investments to tackle climate crisis make ‘very good economic sense’: COP26 president

Mr Alok Sharma, the full-time president of COP26, at the CNA Leadership Summit on Apr 22, 2021. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: The fight against climate change is not just about protecting nature and the world’s population but it also makes “very good economic sense”, said Mr Alok Sharma, the president of the upcoming United Nations’ (UN) Climate Change Conference.

In a keynote video presentation at the CNA Leadership Summit on Thursday (Apr 22), Mr Sharma cited several examples. 

For instance, analysis has shown that a shift to renewable energies can create more jobs than the use of fossil fuels, while every dollar invested in climate adaptation can result in up to US$10 of economic benefit.

He also cited the United Kingdom as an example which “shows clearly that economic strength can go hand in hand with driving down emissions”.

“Over the past 30 years, we have managed to grow our economy by 75 per cent, whilst reducing emissions by 43 per cent,” said the former UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

READ: Britain wants in-person 'COP26' climate change summit this year

Mr Sharma left his position as business secretary in January to focus full-time on his role as president of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), which is set to be held in Glasgow in November.

According to its website, the COP26 summit will bring parties together "to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change".

The COP26 “must be the moment the world comes together to deal with the climate crisis”, said Mr Sharma, while laying out his four objectives for the conference.

The first is to put the world on a path to net zero emissions, which is “absolutely vital” if the world seeks to limit the rise in global temperature in line with the Paris Agreement and “avoid the worst effects of climate change”, he said.

Mr Sharma is also hoping for plans to be formulated to boost climate adaptation, to get finance flowing to climate action and collaboration to enable a faster transition to a green economy. 

Achieving these aims will require action from across the society, including governments, civil society, businesses and investors, he said.

“And we need governments to plan to adapt to our changing climate and to set clear net zero targets (with) long term strategies to get there. And really importantly, short-term emissions reductions targets to keep them on track.”

READ: New US administration bringing ‘good dynamics’ to the fight against climate change: Grace Fu

Mr Sharma also said the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has presented countries with “a unique opportunity to reimagine economies, to build back cleaner and greener, creating jobs and prosperity as we do so”.

The global shift to clean growth presents huge economic opportunities, he added. On the flip side, polluting ways of working will risk getting left behind with costly, stranded assets.

He cited analysis that said climate change could cost more than 200 of the world’s biggest companies a combined total of about US$1 trillion. “Yet those same companies have the potential for US$2 trillion worth of gains from the move to green economies.”

“My friends, the economics is behind us and the urgent need for action is clear. So together, let’s make 2021 the year we get a grip of the climate crisis."

Source: CNA/sk(gs)


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