Promoting environmentally sustainable “greener” growth, remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, 6 May, 2014


MCM Session: Promoting Environmentally Sustainable “Greener” Growth

Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, Paris, France, 6 May, 2014, 17:00-18:30


Dear Ministers:

This is one of the vital sessions of our Ministerial Council Meeting. Promoting environmentally sustainable growth is one of our top responsibilities as 21st century decision-makers.

Our production and consumption patterns have an impact on this planet that is stronger than natural biophysical and geological processes. Our understanding of the scale of the risks posed by environmental threats, like climate change, is now supported by seriously tested and globally accepted evidence. And the message is clear: we are on a collision course with nature, and we need to take bold decisions to change that path.

This is why this meeting is so important. Because we need your experience, your wisdom, your support, to move forward.

And we are indeed able to do so. The OECD has been working on environmental sustainability for decades. And now we are definitely “Going Green”. Our Green Growth Strategy is permeating our work. We are identifying best practices on biodiversity, water and natural resource management. We are providing new analysis on the links between consumption, innovation and the environment; between environment and trade; environment and development. We are proposing ways to associate behavioural economics with environmental incentives, and providing new projections on the Cost of Inaction and Resource Scarcity (CIRCLE) under our NAEC initiative

Our work on climate change now has a global impact. We are playing an increasingly important role in supporting international discussions and in forging consensus for bold decisions through the joint OECD/IEA technical analysis of possible options for the 2015 agreement, the support to the UN Secretary-General’s Task Force on Climate Finance, and the DAC’s technical contributions.

A few months ago, in a speech at LSE, I proposed a roadmap to achieve zero net emissions in the second half of this century, to keep the average global temperature rise to the agreed 2°C. The 5th IPCC Assessment Report confirmed our warning just some weeks ago. I know this is a tough call, but there is no other way out.

The good news is that, with the right policy mix and bold decisions, we can turn environmental sustainability into a source of growth, employment and economic resilience. Green can go hand in hand with growth; and the OECD, with your guidance and support, can help our countries to succeed in this urgent economic transformation.

Dear Ministers:

We are very much looking forward to your contributions and orientations. I am sure that the statement on climate change that will emanate from your discussions will provide us with the guidance to advance this important agenda.

Thank you very much.