Nobel laureates: Focus economic recovery now on tackling climate crisis | NOW

Five Nobel Prize winners will present a manifesto in Groningen on Friday that has been signed by three thousand scientists from more than a hundred countries. Ahead of a special climate summit to be held in the Netherlands on Monday, they call for the economic recovery after the corona crisis to be aimed at averting the next, bigger crisis.

These are the winners of the 2001 and 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics, the winners of the 2011 and 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics and Tawakkol Karman, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.

The economic costs of natural disasters caused by climate change could have risen to 45 trillion euros by 2040, the manifesto says. The complete prevention of a “dangerous disturbance of the climate system” is no longer possible, according to the scientists. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible, they believe that there is an urgent need to invest in reducing vulnerability to climate change.

The manifesto is published prior to the world’s first international climate summit on adaptation (adaptation to the consequences of climate change), which will be held in the Netherlands on Monday and in which various government leaders will participate.

“I am deeply concerned about the share of green investment in economic recovery packages”

Ban Ki-moon, Chair of the Global Center on Adaptation

Coinciding with the manifesto, the Netherlands-based Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) is publishing a report outlining how the economic recovery packages currently taking shape could have a “triple dividend”. According to the organization, this can be achieved through a combined focus on economic recovery, job growth and a reduction in the risk of climate change.

“I am deeply concerned about the current share of green investment in global recovery packages,” said JSA committee chair Ban Ki-moon. How green investments are after the corona crisis will determine the future of our planet for centuries, said the former United Nations Secretary-General.

‘Financing climate adaptation is decreasing, but must increase tenfold’

Countries have now set aside an estimated 11 trillion euros for the recovery after the corona crisis. This is both an opportunity and a risk for the climate. After the recession of 2009, investments were mainly ‘gray’, which accelerated global CO2 emissions.

But the economic return of sustainable technology is now higher and the recovery money can also be used to finance the Paris climate agreement. In that agreement, rich countries pledged to initially provide poorer countries with EUR 82 billion in climate support per year.

About 30 percent of this is intended for adaptations to the consequences of climate change, says GCA CEO Patrick Verkooijen in conversation with “But ten times the amount will be needed within ten years. Our report shows that funding for adaptation has fallen for the first time in the past year.”

‘Banks and pension funds must always consider climate risks’

In order to stimulate a much larger flow of money, the Paris climate agreement also agreed to green the financial market with rules that should stimulate investment in sustainable energy and discourage polluting projects. This shift is also important for the financing of climate adaptation, says Verkooijen.

According to him adaptation is therefore more than a form of development aid. As far as Verkooijen is concerned, it is about building climate-resilient societies and thus also averting major risks for the global economy. “It is therefore important how banks and pension funds will take climate risks into account in all investments. Not the risks of yesterday and today, but the increasing risks to the future, which now require different investment choices.”


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