World Bank Outlines Benefits of Climate Action

World Bank25 June 2013: Noting that the world is heading towards an increase in average temperature of 4° Celsius by the end of the century, a World Bank report titled 'Growing Green: The Economic Benefits of Climate Action' highlights three strategic areas of investment – energy efficiency, cleaner energy and improved natural resource management – to promote green growth and climate change resilience, particularly in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region.

The report indicates that air pollution from power generation alone causes almost $20 billion in health damages in ECA each year. In addition, it states that significant agricultural losses, around 25-50% of the region's grain crops in 2012, occurs due to severe droughts and floods. According to Uwe Deichmann, Senior Environmental Specialist at the World Bank and co-author of the report, brown growth relates to "economic development that relies heavily on fossil fuels and does not consider the negative side effects that economic production and consumption have on the environment,” while green growth “implies moving to a far cleaner energy system that uses energy more efficiently and to much better natural resource management especially on agricultural lands and in forests.”

Key messages of the report include that: the decade of the 2010s offers an opportunity for the ECA to move from brown to green growth—making production and consumption more sustainable, increasing quality of life, and reducing impacts on the climate; the costs of lowering climate change in ECA will involve many different actions, which will have different costs; and a simple framework helps guide climate action and complementary growth, social and environmental policies should be stimulated to promote broader benefits of climate action.

The report recalls that the global market for renewable energy totaled $250 billion in 2011. [World Bank Press Release] [Publication: Growing Green: The Economic Benefits of Climate Action]