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The world is currently confronting an interwoven set of challenges: the devastating health and social costs of the COVID-19 pandemic; the diminished prospects for economic growth and employment against a backdrop of rising public debt; the mounting threats of climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss; and growing inequality that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Forceful and urgent action at scale is needed to tackle shorter-term economic, social and health impacts and to set the world on a sustainable growth path over the medium and longer term.
The transition to a net-zero emissions, climate-resilient world represents the greatest economic, business and commercial opportunities in modern times. Realisation of this opportunity requires fundamental systemic change and significant investment, together with decisive leadership.
The G7 rich nations have the opportunity to take bold action to ‘build back better’ from the COVID-19 pandemic, as was laid out in a recent report from Nicholas Stern and colleagues at the LSE, commissioned by the UK Prime Minister for the G7 Caris Bay meeting in June 2021. Bold climate action, including targets for net-zero emissions, and the Sustainable Development Goals can be the principal drivers of investment and innovation in the decades ahead. Momentum is building, and the current low interest rates provide an opportunity. The challenge and opportunity is for the world as a whole. It must deliver a global, coordinated recovery, with sustainable investment and innovation by both the private and public sectors at its core. The costs of failure in terms of a lost decade for development and an unsustainable future would be immense. Success is a strong recovery and a much more attractive form of growth and development.
This lecture explores the relevant policies and actions necessary to pursue this imperative. It will argue that an integrated global agenda must be underpinned by a shared international vision for strong recovery and sustainable growth, and that delivery of the requisite scale and quality of investment will require a broad commitment and concerted actions on policy measures and on finance.
There has never been a more crucial moment for the world to act together; this lecture will describe the way towards a more prosperous and sustainable future. It will do this via an example of how work in a university (LSE) can try to influence what really happens.
Meet our Speaker and Chair
Lord Stern is the IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government, Chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Head of the India Observatory at the London School of Economics. President of the British Academy, July 2013 – 2017, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014. He was knighted for services to economics in 2004, and appointed Companion of Honour for services to economics, international relations and tackling climate change in 2017. He has published more than 15 books and 100 articles and his most recent book is Why are We Waiting? The Logic, Urgency and Promise of Tackling Climate Change.
Susana Mourato is Professor of Environmental Economics at the Department of Geography and Environment, Academic Director of LSE Summer School, and Associate of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. She has over 100 scientific publications in environmental and cultural economics, including 4 books. From September she will become LSE’s Pro-Director Research.
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