More jobs, fewer deaths, and money saved from fuel imports. That’s what the climate action commitments laid out by the EU, US, and China will deliver to their nations, according to a study by NewClimate Institute, and commissioned by Climate Action Network.
The new study calculates that as well as helping reduce climate change risk, the steps outlined in the plans for these three economies will mean a total of almost 1 million new jobs by 2030. It will save the lives of around 113,000 people who will no longer die prematurely thanks to reduced air pollution, and huge savings from avoiding the high costs of imported fossil fuels.
What’s more, scaling up their commitments to be in line with the transition to economies powered by 100% renewables by mid-century will mean unlocking even more benefits for these nations. More ambitious plans would collectively create around 3 million jobs by 2030, save the lives of around 2 million people who would otherwise fall victim to deadly air pollution, and would save around US$520 billion from avoided fossil fuel imports per year. If all countries took climate actions at this scale, global warming would not cross the 20C threshold, beyond which scientists predict climate change to spin out of control. Such action would also give us an even chance of staying within 1.50C -- the threshold advocated by many of the most vulnerable nations.
NewClimate Institute’s Niklas Höhne, author of the study, said: “This new analysis shows that any governments currently formulating climate action plans should consider the significant benefits for their people that could be achieved by setting their ambition levels to maximum.”
Climate Action Network chair Mohamed Adow said: “Over 100 countries have thrown their support behind a phase out of fossil fuel emissions and it’s not hard to see why -- making a just transition to 100% renewable energy is a no brainer as it means healthier economies and healthier people.”
The report comes as developed countries -- and others in a position to do so -- were expected to lodge their offers with the UN by today. These offers will form the building blocks of a new climate agreement to be signed in Paris this December.
The study shows that Europe stands to save around USD$33 billion per year on avoided fossil fuel imports through its climate action plan, but this would jump to around USD$170 billion a year if the region scaled up its offer.
China’s battle with air pollution has been well documented, as has the country’s actions to get it under control. Beijing’s new climate offer will save around 100,000 lives a year, but as they scale up their efforts that figure rises to around 1.2 million people annually.
The United States is expected to formally lodge an offer with the UN which will create around 470,000 jobs by 2030 in the country’s burgeoning renewable energy sector, with even more potential in the country’s energy efficiency sector.
This study once again confirms key findings from last year’s Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which informed governments that the only way to build and retain prosperous economies is through both mitigating and adapting to climate change.
All eyes will now turn to other major -- more and more isolated -- economies such as Japan, Australia, and Canada whose governments appear to have missed the deadline for lodging climate action commitments with the UN. With evidence piling up on the side of scaling up action and the multiple benefits that delivers, their people will increasingly question government decisions that fail to speed up the people-driven transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies.
This article originally appeared in ClimateNetwork.org and has been reprinted with Climate Action Network’s permission.