Symposium 2015

Virtual Library File - Better growth, Better Climate

The Challenge

How to design an industrial policy for Europe, which spurs innovation and enables European industries to lead in the low carbon “space race”? This is a key challenge related to two agendas on wh ...

How to design an industrial policy for Europe, which spurs innovation and enables European industries to lead in the low carbon “space race”? This is a key challenge related to two agendas on which international attention is currently focused: the COP21 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, and Europe's recent agenda for growth, jobs, and competitiveness. Much like climate policy, the need for a new industrial policy is widely acknowledged among politicians, businesses, and the wider society. However, there is little confidence that an innovative and effective industrial policy can be designed to fit all sectors, regions, and stakeholders alike. Yet, with a low carbon market estimated at more than 4.5 trillion euros, progress in this area is vital. One promising approach is to develop a modern understanding of the role of public policy and free markets. With this in mind, the idea of "co-opetition" seeks to stimulate industrial innovation through a combination of both cooperation and competition among countries and enterprises.

Rapid technological innovation and new investment in infrastructure are making it possible to tackle climate change at the same time as improving economic performance. Over the next 15 years, US $90 trillion will be invested in infrastructure in the world’s cities, agriculture and energy systems. The world has an opportunity to drive investment in low-carbon growth, bringing multiple benefits including jobs, health, business productivity and quality of life. The NCE report suggests that there is a better story for Europe than defending business-as-usual and the ‘bad’ choices that are inherent in it. It is a story of ‘good choices’, and one that outlines the basic actions needed to get the European economy moving, while also acting on climate change.
This involves four levers that can lead to better growth and better climate:

  1. Boosting low-carbon infrastructure investment
  2. Promoting innovation
  3. Promoting resource efficiency
  4. Implementing better policies, specifically revitalizing carbon markets, in ways that can reduce investor uncertainty and improve the efficiency of transitioning to a low-carbon, growing economy.