Toward a Global Green Recovery: Recommendations for Immediate G20 Action

A report by Sir Nicholas Stern and Professor Ottmar Edenhofer

In advance of the G20 meetings in London on April 2, 2009, the Center for American Progress hosted the launch of a key new paper commissioned by the German Foreign Office that aims to broaden the momentum for the G20 to tackle the global recession and climate crisis by investing in clean-energy infrastructure. “Towards a Global Green Recovery,” written by Professor Ottmar Edenhofer from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, or PIK, and Sir Nicholas Stern from the London School of Economics, recommends that the G20 nations focus their recovery programs on strategic areas such as energy efficiency, infrastructure, and clean technology markets.

Bracken Hendricks, CAP Senior Fellow, welcomed German Ambassador Klaus Scharioth, who released the findings of the study. Hendricks called the study’s recommendations for a green vision of global economic recovery a new platform for economic investment that would have beneficial impacts for jobs and low-carbon infrastructure .

The study’s commitment to a green vision of economic recovery will “create a substantially greater number of jobs than traditional stimulus investment strategies,” noted Hendricks. “This green path is competitive and productive.”

Hendricks said that the timing of the current global situation and G20 summit offers an unprecedented opportunity to address the combined issues of economic recovery and climate protection. “We must engage in a broader international dialogue that will transform the entire global economy to the platform of a low carbon economy.… Long-term prosperity, health, and welfare require that we start grappling with global warming.”

Ambassador Scharioth cited Germany’s successful commitment to addressing climate change and stimulating its economy. He said Germans were concerned about CO2 emissions in the 1990s, as well as enhancing incentives to use renewable energy and reducing reliance on foreign oil and gas. Their investment in solar and wind technology and guaranteed pricing for costs of electricity generated by these alternative energy sources created 280,000 jobs. By investing in these energy sources, subsidizing their costs, and creating incentives 15 years ago, Germany has tripled the share of renewable energy usage in the country to 16 percent and created 1.7 million jobs in the environmental sector.

“The idea is simple,” the ambassador said. “Combating climate change does not cost jobs—you can create jobs by investing early in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and reduction of CO2 emissions. These challenges must be viewed as opportunities, not constraints.”

The main recommendation of the study, explained Ambassador Scharioth, is that the G20 summit offers the opportunity for collaboration among the 20 participating countries representing two-thirds of the world’s population, 75 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, and 75 percent of the world’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions. “We have a chance at the G20 if we work together—and we must work together” he urged. The ambassador recommended that the G20 be the opportunity to speedily implement long-term climate protection recommendations and to put in place follow-up investments that will create “multiplier effects.”

“Adopting these measures," said the ambassador, will signal that, “There is a future and we can create many jobs, move toward common goals, and enhance our energy security.”

Introduction by:

Bracken Hendricks, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Distinguished Speaker:

Ambassador Klaus Scharioth


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