That is according to a new report released this week by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. The research suggests that bold climate action could also create more than 65 million new low-carbon jobs and avoid 700,000 premature deaths from air pollution over the next 12 years.

Subsidy reform and carbon pricing alone could generate $2.8trn in government revenues each year in 2030, it is claimed, money that could be used to invest in other public priorities.

“We are at a unique ‘use it or lose it’ moment”, said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Finance Minister of Nigeria and co-chair of the Global Commission.

“Policymakers should take their feet off the brakes, send a clear signal that the new growth story is here and that it comes with exciting economic and market opportunities. $26 trillion and a more sustainable planet are on offer, if we act decisively now.”

‘New growth story’

Among a list of recommendations for policymakers and businesses, the report calls for a move to mandatory disclosure of climate-related financial risks. It also calls on actors to accelerate investment in sustainable infrastructure and ensure that the economic growth from climate action is distributed equally among societies.

“We can now see that this new growth story embodies very powerful dynamics: innovation, learning-by-doing, and economies of scale,” said Lord Nicholas Stern, professor of economics and government at the LSE and co-chair of the Global Commission.

“Current economic models fail to capture both the powerful dynamics and the very attractive qualities of new technologies and structures. Thus we know we are grossly underestimating the benefits of this new growth story. And further, it becomes ever more clear that the risks of the damage from climate change are immense and tipping points and irreversibilities getting ever closer.”

George Ogleby

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