Climate Change and Economic Development: Prospects for a Global Agenda

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In 2015 the world will agree on a set of post-2015 sustainable development goals (SDGs), the G20 will meet to discuss these goals with a focus on “investment” and “inclusion,” and the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) will meet in Paris with the aim of reaching a climate change agreement. Both the development and climate change agendas are so deeply intertwined that they will succeed or fail together. Growth strategies that fail to tackle poverty and/or climate will prove to be unsustainable and vice versa. Most significant for the development and climate agendas will be meeting the global need to increase infrastructure investment - over the coming two decades the world will need to invest around $90 trillion in sustainable infrastructure assets, more than it has invested in the past century. The challenge is ensuring that the infrastructure that needs to be built is sustainable. Failure here will lock the world into a high carbon growth trajectory and repeat past development outcomes in terms of even more congested cities, continued use of fossil fuel energy sources, pollution, and poorer human health outcomes.


Growth and Development | International Economics

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Joshua Meltzer is a Brookings Fellow in Global Economy and Development. This public lecture was delivered on October 7, 2015, in Greenspun Hall, on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).