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2015-01_dc

D+C Vol.42.2015:1 37 Since the climate summit in Copen- hagen in 2009, mitigation of climate change has mostly been discussed as an economic challenge. The question used to be: “Which countries must reduce their emissions by how much and when?” Now it is: “How can global and national econ- omies be made climate compatible?” This issue became the subject of a number of comprehensive reports published in recent years (see box, p. 38). The most recent one was published in autumn. Entitled “The New Climate Econo­my”, it was authored by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, a UN-convened initiative chaired by Felipe Calderón, the former president of Mexico, and Nick Stern, the former chief economist of the World Bank. The document confirms the core findings of earlier low-carbon re- ports. That shows that a scientifically ro- bust consensus is emerging concerning the following issues: Climate change can still be limited to a 2° C rise in global average temperatures. For that to happen, however, the global economy must be almost completely de- carbonised sometime in the second half of this century, and the course must be set accordingly in the next 10 to 15 years. The German Advisory Council on Global Change recommends zero carbon emis- sions by 2070 at the latest. Action must therefore be taken fast. There are four key requirements for the transformation humankind needs. First of all, it is necessary to put a price on cli- mate emissions through taxes or a trad- ing system so eco-friendly action will bring economic benefits. Second, to drive forward innovation, investment in re- search and development is required. Third, international cooperation and an effective global climate agreement are es- sential. Fourth, the entire policy toolbox for economics, infrastructure, energy and innovation must be geared towards sus- tainability and climate protection. Transformation is particularly urgent in three sectors: energy supply, urban de- velopment and land use. In all three, hu- manity needs greater efficiency, new in- frastructures and innovation. In regard to energy and land use, the Calderón-Stern report offers little that was not contained in the earlier reports, but it does present some interesting figures on urban growth. For example, about 150 cities currently account for half of global economic output and half of global energy-related emissions. Furthermore, in the next 20 years, some 290 fast-growing cities in Asia are expected to account for around a third of additional global emis- sions. Therefore, urban planning for these cities must be geared to decarbonisation from the outset. Global governance Refreshing ­optimism By Dirk Messner A new report by a global commission considers the climate crisis as a business opportunity. The study argues in strictly economic terms and presents a vision for global growth. A number of im- portant issues, however, are not tackled. Dembowski High-rise housing in Ho Chi Minh City: fast-growing urban agglomerations in Asia must be planned in a climate-friendly way.

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