BUSINESS

Climate Change Action Can Help (Not Hinder) Economies: Study

04/19/2017 08:26 EDT

A new study out of the U.K. suggests that cutting greenhouse gas emissions helps (or at least doesn't hinder) the economy.

Out of all G7 nations, the U.K. has been the most successful at both growing its economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, non-profit Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) found in research released Monday.

“It’s really time to slay once and for all the old canard that cutting carbon emissions means economic harm"

Per-capita greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. dropped 33 per cent between 1992 and 2014, while the nation's GDP grew by more than 130 per cent. The worst-performing country on both counts, Japan, saw per-capita emissions grow by 10.5 per cent while its GDP grew by just 83 per cent.

“It’s really time to slay once and for all the old canard that cutting carbon emissions means economic harm,“ ECIU director Richard Black said in a statement.

Black noted that getting "richer and cleaner" wasn't just exclusive to Britain — while they were the most successful, the findings were true of most G7 countries.

The non-profit's research may be of interest to U.S. President Donald Trump, whose advisers are currently deliberating whether the U.S. should withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Trump promised to pull out of the agreement during his campaign, and members of his team have slammed it as a "bad deal."


Economist Jeffrey Sachs, an adviser to the UN and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, echoed the findings in an interview with Scientific American in late March.

Sachs said Trump's actions against climate change (like scrapping his predecessor's Clean Power Plan) will be costly:

"We will set [our industry] back because the rest of the world will move to low-carbon energy—and the countries that provide the cutting-edge technology will derive economic benefit from it ... China is already in the race to be the low-cost provider of just about every renewable energy, electric vehicles, smart rail—and the Chinese government has announced that by 2025 it wants China to be an advanced technology leader in the low-carbon economy.

Trump is basically telling them, 'Go ahead—the U.S. is going to become the champion of the 20th-century economy.'"

On Tuesday, the former president of Maldives argued that action on climate change should be sold to leaders like Trump as an economic, not moral, shift.

Mohamed Nasheed told the audience at the Sundance Film Festival that “you can love coal as much as you want," but that its economics just don't make sense anymore, according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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