“We need to grow in the conviction that a decrease in the pace of production and consumption can at times give rise to another form of progress and development” (LS, 191)

praised be 11-09

On the 30th of November 2015 Paris will host the 21st United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21).  This is a very important Summit as countries must arrive at a universal and binding agreement to drastically reduce the emission of Greenhouse gases (GHG) – the effect of burning fossil fuels – and thereby halt the continuing rise in the temperature of the earth, and keep it under 1.5 or 2 degrees, estimated by the scientific community to be necessary to avert catastrophic consequences for all life on the planet.

Countries are now submitting their “country pledges” to tackle the reduction of these gases under the so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).  Chile published a preliminary version of its INDC for public consultation in January 2015.  The draft bill proposes two options.  “Option A”, the most ambitious, is to cut our economy’s GHG per unit of GDP from between 40% to 45% by 2030, and the “option B” is cut from 35% to 40% (Government Chile, 2014a).

Some members of the Government and several businessmen are indicating that “Option A” would be too expensive, especially if the economy is in crisis. However, they don’t take into account the co-benefits that this commitment would create, according to a newly developed study by the Center for Studies NewClimate, and published by the Mesa Ciudadana sobre Cambio Climático (Citizens Committee on Climate Change), made up of several environmental organizations in Chile. These benefits are:

  • A saving of at least 2,900 million dollars every year on fossil fuel imports.
  • Prevent in the order of 700 pre-mature deaths each year due to ambient air pollution.
  • Create 7,000 additional green jobs in renewable energy.

The study shows something even more interesting.  If Chile would slow its rate of fossil fuel consumption even more radically and pursue another model of growth, meeting a trajectory of 100% renewable energies by the year 2050, the benefits would be even greater.  In this case Chile would see the following benefits:

  • A saving of USD 2.4 billion annually in reduced fossil fuels imports additional to INDC reductions, corresponding to a total annual saving of USD 5.3 billion compared to the current policies scenario. With these savings Chile could, for example, finance much of its educational reform.
  • Prevent in the order of 800 pre-mature deaths each year from air pollution, additional to the INDC improvement, totalling 1,500 fewer deaths per year than in the current policies scenario.
  • Create approximately 4,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector additional to the INDC scenario, totalling more than 11,000 jobs than in the current policies scenario.

Moreover Chile would become a key player internationally and a leader at the regional level. Chile now emits little, but our carbon footprint is rapidly increasing.

Why not then lobby for the government of Chile to commit itself to another way of progress and development, beyond “what seems possible within the current model”?

It would not mean losses, but rather gains in money, employment and lives!

For more information and to view the original NewClimate report: http://newclimate.org/2015/03/27/indc-cobenefits/

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