United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged hundreds of business leaders gathered in Chicago to help usher in a new era of 'green economics,' where addressing the problem of climate change becomes not a cost but an opportunity for growth.
"As businesspeople, you will appreciate the power of markets and innovation to change the world. In this, the UN is your partner," said Mr. Ban in an address Thursday evening to the Economic Club of Chicago.
He stressed that any solution to climate change should involve shaping the world's economic future. "We have experienced several great economic transformations: the industrial revolution, the technology revolution, our modern era of globalization. We're now on the threshold of another - the age of green economics."
The Secretary-General cited a report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) estimating that global investment in zero-greenhouse energy will reach $1.9 trillion by 2020. This can serve as "seed money for a wholesale reconfiguration of global industry," he said.
"With the right financial incentives and a global framework, we can steer economic growth in a low-carbon direction. This is the bottom-line. Done right, our war against climate change is an economic opportunity, not a cost," Mr. Ban.