The economic reasons to act on climate change, and to act immediately


This Policy Insight is the text to accompany a presentation delivered by Lord Stern at the Vatican on 5 July 2018 at the International Conference on the Third Anniversary of Laudato Si’: Saving our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth, Pope Francis’s second encyclical.

Lord Stern calls for delivery on the remarkable new global agenda the world has built, including meeting the Paris Agreement targets and the Sustainable Development Goals, at scale and with urgency.

Lord Stern writes: ‘We must act now to change radically the relationship between economic activity and damage to the environment. The economics of that change are compelling. We can reduce poverty and build a new form of growth that is clean, sustainable and inclusive. If the world responds effectively to these challenges, the prize is strong and sustainable growth, cities in which people can move and breathe, ecosystems that are robust and supportive, and societies that are more inclusive and cohesive.

‘His Holiness the Pope is showing extraordinary leadership in trying to bridge the gap between moral obligation and the will to act. He can serve as a notable example to academics, politicians, civil society and the financial sector. Only by combining political and moral leadership and social movements will the necessary decisions be taken with the urgency required.’