Please activate JavaScript!
Please install Adobe Flash Player, click here for download

2015-01_dc

D+C Vol.42.2015:1 39 The Calderón-Stern Commission does not confine itself to national politics; it also considers global governance. Questions raised include: What must a climate-compatible global financial architecture look like? In view of glo- balised world trade, how appropriate is the patchwork of different systems for emissions trading? How should the WTO settle disputes over eco-products and environmental technologies? The report does not offer comprehensive answers to these questions, but it indi- cates what issues need to be addressed. In contrast to the earlier reports, the new document emphasises the busi- ness opportunities of transition more than the risks of the climate crisis. The transition to climate compatibility is presented as THE growth option for the flagging global economy. This perspec- tive is optimistic and provocative. It certainly challenges the widely shared view that the global financial crisis of 2008 has curtailed government capaci- ties and investor confidence to an ex- tent that makes the shift towards sus- tainability more difficult. The website created for the Calderón- Stern report (www.newclimateeconomy.­ report) is setting a new standard. None of the earlier reports had comparable inter- net support. The digital platform was certainly expensive, but that investment is justified since it serves to spread knowledge, form opinions and set the in- ternational agenda. Because the report is likely to attract much attention, it makes sense to point out its weaknesses: It focuses too much on win-win options. Being aware of them and identifying them is important, but it is not enough in view of the complexity of the challenges ahead. If transformation is the goal, the means for achieving it must be spelled out. Promis- ing reform proposals need to be identified – and so do possible obstacles, along with strategies to overcome them. Sweeping societal change always prompts resist- ance. Unfortunately, the Calderón-Stern Commission largely ignores this aspect. The low-carbon transformation will offer many opportunities, but it will also lead to tensions. The reason is that many in- terventions make sense, including in economic germs, in the medium to long run, but they are expensive or institu- tionally very demanding in the short run. This is true of introducing systems for emission trading, strategies for boosting energy efficiency, electro-mobility or low-carbon standards for buildings. Huge up-front investments are needed, so business as usual looks attractive. What does this mean in the context of different countries? And what does it mean for development finance? What other policy goals must wait? The report offers no answers to these questions. The report does an excellent job of show- ing how policies concerning public budg- ets, economic affairs and innovation must coherently lead to greater sustainability. However, it does not explain how those new policies can be grafted onto present established practice. During the transi- tional period, there will be hybrid policies. Germany’s domestic dispute over the Energiewende – the shift to renewable en- ergy – is a good example. Other countries are struggling with similar issues. How can climate compatibility, social inclusion and economic dynamism be interlocked? For the transformation to succeed, this question needs to be answered. Conclusion The Calderón-Stern Commission report is valuable because its arguments are strict- ly economic and will appeal to both poli- cymakers and business executives. One upside is that it presents a prospect of growth, in particular for emerging markets and developing countries. The document leaves the reader in no doubt that action is not only necessary, but possible in a prom- ising way. However, the report’s optimism rests partly on its failure to consider some im- portant issues in detail. It ignores the time pressure we are under, and it makes no suggestions for overcoming inevitable re- sistance. Nor does it spell out what can make long-term thinking prevail over the short-term variety. Success, however, will depend on measures being taken in a way that harnesses synergies across a wide range of policy areas and is not thwarted by obstruc- tive forces. Ultimately, the report sticks to convention- al growth paradigm. It very much ignores the global de- bate on new notions of how to live well, and simply states that growth must be- come green. In this sense, the Calderón- Stern Commission is lagging behind the OECD’s fascinating new work on “well-be- ing” for instance. Dirk Messner is director of the German Development Institute (Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungs­ politik) and co-chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen, WGBU). [email protected] Link: The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, 2014: The new climate economy. http://www.newclimateeconomy.report Dembowski Octoberfest in Munich: in prosperous OECD cities, economic growth has been decoupled from greenhouse-gas emissions. Tribune

Seitenübersicht