Global Redesign Summit 2010

  • Rebuild In Depth: Low-Carbon Growth

    Sunday 30th May 2010 - 4:15pm - 5:45pm

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  • Rebuild In Depth: Low-Carbon Growth – Cancun 2010 Dialogue

    The United Nations Bali Action Plan called for international cooperation to help developing countries develop and implement Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions in the context of sustainable development. Under the Copenhagen Accord, actions of this nature seeking international support will be recorded in a registry along with relevant technology, finance and capacity building support.


    1) How can the process by which developing countries develop their low-carbon plans be effectively linked to the identification of financing arrangements and technologies?
    2) How can the capacity for climate change mitigation be strengthened through public-private exchange of best practices, lessons learned and technologies?
    3) How can coalitions of like-minded countries, provinces, states and cities help make progress on specific issues such as forest-based mechanisms for climate change mitigation?

    Key Points

    • The Copenhagen climate change summit’s image as a failure masks several underlying changes
    • South Korea has adopted a bold plan to pursue low-carbon growth, and it will try to encourage the G20 to follow its lead
    • Financing mechanisms must be developed and incentives more clearly defined, notably for utility companies, consumers and firms that develop new technologies
    • Policy continuity should be encouraged


    The session offered a wide-ranging discussion of various elements related to low carbon economic growth. The Copenhagen climate change summit’s image as a failure masks several underlying changes: world leaders, including the US president, recognized the importance of the issue; the meeting attracted a range of actors going well beyond environmental ministers; adaptation made the agenda; the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) programme moved forward; and for the first time developing countries participated in the debate rather than labelling climate change a rich-country problem.

    During the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the founding of South Korea two years ago, President Lee Myung-bak announced a bold low-carbon green growth initiative. Set to host a G20 summit in November, South Korea plans to push that idea to other member countries at the gathering in Seoul. In June, South Korea will launch the Global Green Growth Institute, which has a mandate to transform high-level discussions into concrete actions.

    In defining the road towards low-carbon growth, several key issues must be addressed. They include: the cost of technology; macroeconomics; the changing nature of capital costs (i.e. low variable costs); politics; adaptation; institutions; financing and incentives. Feed in tariffs were mentioned as one policy instrument. Another suggestion was to change the way electricity companies charge for their services from a per unit measure to a model more akin to what telecommunications operators use today.

    Policy continuity would help provide an environment conducive to investment, and it should be encouraged in democratic countries that change administrations periodically. In countries where politics are messy, plans must be developed with an eye towards making sure they can work in essentially dysfunctional surroundings.

    Other Takeaways

    • Bringing finance, planning and other ministries into the climate change debate is important, but it complicates the process and creates turf wars.
    • Average citizens often perceive policies to address climate change as a threat to their current and/or future standards of living: the low-carbon economic model must be made to seem attractive.
    • Indonesia and Norway are primed to sign an agreement under which the Asian country would receive up to US$ 1 billion to protect its forests; this could be a model for other initiatives.
    • Eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels would make a huge contribution to encouraging renewable energy.
    • If emerging countries like China invest their own money in low-carbon growth at home, opportunities will be created on a global scale.

    Discussion Leaders

    James Cameron

    , Vice-Chairman, Climate Change Capital, United Kingdom; Global Agenda Council on Climate Change

    Cheng Siwei

    , Chairman, International Finance Forum (IFF), People's Republic of China; Global Agenda Council on the Future of China
    Thomas C. Heller, Executive Director, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), USA; Global Agenda Council on the International Legal System

    Kim Sang-Hyup

    , Secretary to the President of the Republic of Korea for National Future and Vision, Republic of Korea

    Liu Zhi

    , Lead Infrastructure Specialist, East Asia and Pacific Region, World Bank, Beijing; Global Agenda Council on the Future of Transportation

    Kazuhiko Takemoto

    , Vice-Minister of Global Environmental Affairs of Japan

    Simon Zadek

    , Visiting Senior Fellow, Center for Government and Business, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA; Global Agenda Council on Global Institutional Governance

    Zou Ji

    , Country Director, China, World Resources Institute (WRI); Professor, Department of Environmental Economics and Management, Renmin University, People's Republic of China; Global Agenda Council on the Future of China

    Facilitated by

    Dan Esty

    , Professor, Yale University, USA; Global Agenda Council on Benchmarking Progress in Society


    This summary was prepared by William Hinchberger. The views expressed are those of certain participants in the discussion and do not necessarily reflect the views of all participants or of the World Economic Forum.

    Copyright 2010 World Economic Forum

    No part of this material may be copied, photocopied or duplicated in any form by any means or redistributed without the prior written consent of the World Economic Forum.


  • Cheng Siwei Cheng Siwei
    Chairman, International Finance Forum (IFF), People's Republic of China

    Economist. MBA, UCLA. Formerly: Vice-Minister of Chemical Industry; Director, Department of Manageme...

  • Kim Sang-Hyup Kim Sang-Hyup

  • Simon Zadek Simon Zadek
    Co-Director, Inquiry on Options for a Sustainable Finance System, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Switzerland

    Formerly: Task Force on Environment, Trade and Investment, China Council on International Cooperatio...

  • Zou Ji Zou Ji
    Deputy Director-General, National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation (NCSC), People's Republic of China

    BSc in Environmental Engineering and MSc in Engineering Economics, Tsinghua University; PhD in Envir...

  • Thomas C. Heller Thomas C. Heller
    Executive Director, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), USA

    1965, AB, Princeton University; 1968, LLB, Yale University; graduate study in Economics, Princeton a...

  • Liu Zhi Liu Zhi
    Director, Lincoln Institute, Peking University, People's Republic of China

    BSc, Zhongshan University; MSc. Nanjing University; PhD, Harvard University. 1985-87, Faculty Member...

  • James Cameron James Cameron
    Chair of the Board, Overseas Development Institute, United Kingdom

    Non-Executive Chairman, Climate Change Capital. Chairman, Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Memb...

  • Kazuhiko Takemoto Kazuhiko Takemoto
    Vice-Minister of Global Environmental Affairs of Japan

    1974, BEng in Environmental Planning, University of Tokyo; 1992, Master's in International Public Po...

Facilitated by

  • Dan Esty Dan Esty
    Professor, Yale University, USA

    BA in Economics, Harvard College; MA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics; Rhodes Scholar, Universi...