The unabated growth of natural resource consumption raises risks that we will outstrip the capacities of ecosystems and governance institutions. At the same time, to achieve important global goals related to poverty alleviation, public health, equity and economic development such as those embodied in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we will simultaneously need more resources and better management of natural resources everywhere.
California has been at the forefront of the modern environmental movement that, in its most iconic form, we associate with hippies and alternative lifestyles. In the following decades, Silicon Valley - the mecca of tech-companies and engine of technological innovation and progress – also became another widely known Californian export. It is thus fitting that the Californian think tank The Breakthrough Institute held its annual Dialogue in Sausalito, CA, - close to Berkeley and Mountain View - bringing together scientists, journalists, activists, and entrepreneurs from across the world to discuss how to overcome societal and technological hurdles for a brighter future for humankind and nature.
Many measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have other positive effects on other aspects of the economy. Some of these co-benefits can be directly translated into financial terms (e.g. savings from reduced fuel use) but others, like improved health or preserved biodiversity, need to be estimated. Better understanding and assessment of the co-benefits of climate change mitigation could thus greatly help countries around the world adopt bolder mitigation measures.
Climate foreign policy needs to shift its focus towards catalyzing the climate economy, key to raising ambitions beyond Paris. Here is how and why.