The OECD Global Forum on Environment on "Towards Quantifying the Links Between Environment and Economic Growth" was held on 24-25 October 2016 at the OECD Conference Centre, Paris.
The objectives of the Global Forum were to provide a platform for policy experts, academics and government officials from OECD and developing countries to explore how a well-managed natural environment can contribute to economic growth and how such an effective and efficient regulatory system can be designed. The Forum was organised across three themes:
|The links between the economy and the environment are manifold: the environment provides resources to the economy, and acts as a sink for emissions and waste. Natural resources are essential inputs for production in many sectors, while production and consumption also lead to pollution and other pressures on the environment. Poor environmental quality in turn affects economic growth and wellbeing by lowering the quantity and quality of resources or due to health impacts, etc. In this context, environmental policies can curb the negative feedbacks from the economy on the environment (and vice-versa). But how effective they are and whether they generate a net benefit or a net cost to society is the subject of much debate and depends on the way they are designed and implemented.
While the main mechanisms that link the economy and the environment are qualitatively known, assessments of environmental policies are often hampered by a lack of consistent metrics to compare the costs and benefits of policy changes, or by a more general lack of empirical evidence. The economic costs of biophysical and environmental consequences of policy inaction, and the associated benefits of new policies, are often not quantified. Therefore, economic discussions are often dominated by the very visible costs of policy action. Thus, it is essential to improve the toolkits that economists use to assess the benefits of environmental policies. This Global Forum aimed to shed some light on this important debate.
The Forum was organised across three main themes:
Opening and scene setting - Key links between environment and growth from a policy perspective and set the context for the following sessions. It also examined the tools and approaches for quantifying such linkages.
SESSION 1: Growth and environment from a policy perspective: quantitative analysis on the links between economic and environmental policy objectives
Chair: Catherine L. Mann (OECD Chief Economist)
This session highlighted the key links between environment and growth from a policy perspective and set the context for the following sessions; and provided an overview of tools and approaches to quantify these linkages.
SESSION 2: How does economic growth depend on the environment and natural resources and how can policy achieve delinking: opportunities and challenges of the circular economy?
Chair: Shardul Agrawala (Head of the Environment and Economy Integration Division – OECD Environment Directorate)
This session focused on how resource use has fuelled growth in the past, how that is no longer sustainable, and what could be some of the new drivers of growth in a green growth fuelled circular economy?
SESSION 3: How does environmental degradation affect economic growth and what are the benefits of policy action: measuring the consequences of environmental feedbacks on economic growth?
Chair: Alain de Serres (Head of the Structural Surveillance Division – OECD Economics Department)
This session focused on how impacts from air pollution, climate change and water scarcity damages hamper economic growth. It will also provide insights from recent OECD work on the global macroeconomic costs of policy inaction, coupled with insights from experts on specific sectors and regions.
SESSION 4: How can environmental policies be designed to be compatible with (green) economic growth? Evidence from firms and industries
Chair: Antoine Dechezleprêtre (Associate Professorial Research Fellow – London School of Economics)
This session drew on empirical insights into these questions, both from OECD and developing countries:
SESSION 5: Quantifying the links between environment and economic growth – key lessons for policy making and next steps
Moderator: Simon Upton (Director – OECD Environment Directorate)
Panel discussion on the main opportunities and challenges for using quantitative assessments of the links between economic growth and the environment to inform policy making, and the key lessons on how to make quantitative analysis most relevant for policy makers?
These questions were raised and discussed by panellists and the audience (no presentations were made):
This workshop is organised by the OECD under the auspices of the Environment Policy Committee (EPOC).
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