Global Green Growth for Human Development

by: Robert Pollin

April 20, 2017 |
Published Study

In this study for the 2016 UN Human Development Report, Robert Pollin outlines a program to meet the climate stabilization goals established by the 2015 Paris Climate Summit. The program entails investing 1.5 percent of global GDP annually to dramatically raise energy efficiency standards and expand the supply of clean renewable energy sources. Pollin shows that this program will be a net source of job creation in all regions of the global economy. He also develops Just Transition policies for workers and communities that will need to transition out of their current reliance on the fossil fuel industry as this industry contracts steadily.


The world is not on track to achieve climate stabilization: a global mean temperature between 1.50C to 20C above pre-industrial levels no later than 2100—the goal of the Paris Agreement. The paper illustrates the opportunities and challenges posed by the development of a global green growth program: a worldwide program whose core is to invest between 1.5 percent to 2 percent of global GDP per year in raising energy efficiency standards and expanding the clean renewable energy supply. This could realistically within 20 years bring global emissions down by 40 percent relative to today while still supporting healthy economic growth rates. The paper analyses the industrial and financing policies that countries should implement to favour the development of energy efficient programs, and it shows how the green growth investments will create new opportunities for alternative ownership forms, including various combinations of smaller scale public, private and cooperative ownership. The paper highlights that, even though the energy efficient program will generate large scale increases in job opportunities, during the transition period, countries will have to implement policies to support workers and communities now depending on the fossil fuel industry.

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