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OECD Secretary-General Promotes Green Growth as a Response to Financial Crisis

© OECD15 June 2009: Angel Gurría, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General, addressed the International Economic Forum of the Americas (Conference of Montreal) on 9 June 2009, presenting on “Energy and Sustainable Development in the Context of the Economic Crisis.”

He highlighted that the fiscal stimulus packages designed to confront the current global economic crisis must not lock-in polluting energy technologies, production and consumption, but instead promote clean alternatives. To reduce the costs of policy actions, he recommended implementing market-based instruments such as water pricing, greenhouse gas emissions trading with auctioned permits, taxes on pollutants and waste charges.

Regarding fears of putting industry at a disadvantage with foreign competitors who may not be subject to similar costs, he underscored that OECD analyses indicate that the effects of climate policies on competitiveness are often quite small, particularly if a sufficiently large group of countries take action. He further emphasized the need to remove subsidies to fossil fuel production or consumption, highlighting new OECD analysis that suggests that removing subsidies to energy consumption in a number of emerging and developing countries could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 30% in some regions in 2050 compared to business-as-usual, while contributing to increased economic efficiency. [The Speech]