Climate Change and Recession: A Global Lens

The Global Leadership Consortium offers recommendations on confronting climate change, the financial crisis and their impact on global and regional security.

The Global Leadership Consortium is a network of some of the world’s leading think tanks. Members present perspectives from Brazil, France, India and Ghana. Among their ideas:

“In order to cut carbon emissions and combat the threat of climate change, while also tackling the global economic downturn, we need to propel four driving forces: energy efficiency, low-carbon technologies, reduction of irrational consumption of carbon-intensive goods and a halt to deforestation. The policies necessary to drive these forces are: carbon taxation and regulation at the national level, an international carbon cap-and-trade system, increased public spending in science and technology in developed countries, support for technology transfer to middle-income and poor countries, and international support for measures that halt deforestation in poor countries.”

Eduardo Viola, Institute of International Relations, University of Brazil
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“Let us not lose time using the economic slowdown as an excuse to postpone the much-needed transition towards a low-carbon economy. Some politicians and industrialists might try to throw in the towel by depicting climate mitigation as an unaffordable luxury in a period of recession…. short-term economic stimulus plans should pave a new path for low-carbon, resource-efficient development. Energy efficiency measures for buildings and vehicles will have the greatest payback since they reduce costs, create jobs and enable us to buy time to develop innovative technologies.”

Cécile Kerebel, French Institute for International Relations, France
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“Addressing these concerns requires two concurrent internationally concerted actions. The first is mainstreaming the economic recovery programs, concepts, policies and practices that privilege reductions in green gas emissions and seek to reverse climate change. Schemes and programs are needed that reconcile environmental preservation and national economic development in a way that allows the world to emerge from one calamity (the recession) by solving another (climate change), or at least laying a solid foundation for its permanent mitigation.”

Mensa Kwaku, Ghana
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“While there are several opportunities to integrate climate policy into mainstream economic policy, it is crucial to ensure a conscious effort on the part of policymakers to maximize and utilize these windows of opportunity before it becomes too late or economically unviable…. the crisis may enable a paradigm shift towards a more long-term perspective in formulating investment decisions, which will necessitate a consideration of climate change.”

Namrata Kala, The Energy and Resources Institute, India
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“[British author George Monbiot writes], ‘Every society is four missed meals away from anarchy.’ To avoid that catastrophe, the world will have to give up its corporate and nationalist identities, the religious and ethnic distinctions, the ideological hang-ups and lifestyles. No single nation, not even the G-20, can resolve this crisis. If the United Nations, too, is incapable of dealing with this crisis, then the world will have to come together in yet another form, like it did after World War II.”

Kumar Ketkar, Strategic Foresight Group, India
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