No green growth without innovation
On December 15, GMF in co-operation with Bruegel organized a side-event to the COP 15 entitled No green growth without innovation. The event focused on a paper recently published by Bruegel under the same name. The panel consisted of Reinhilde Veugelers and Phillipe Aghion from Bruegel, Per Callesen, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Denmark, and Nigel Purvis, Senior Transatlantic Fellow at GMF. The event was moderated by Lord Jean Pisani-Ferry from Bruegel.
The event started with Philippe Aghion and Reinhilde Veugelers giving a brief overview of the paper's findings. The paper argues strongly for the support of green technologies to help combat climate change. The authors' findings suggest that in order to "kick start the green growth machine", subsidies from governments as well as a carbon tax are needed. After the presentation Nigel Purvis responded, putting the paper's findings in a political context by talking about the American experience on this issue. He explained how the U.S. Congress is moving toward a bill that would actually include both instruments that the paper proposes - a carbon tax and subsidies. He also pointed out that international property rights protect patents, which makes it impossible for governments to just transfer these technologies to the developing world. He argued for partnering with countries like India and China on the development of green technologies, as this would make them accessible to those countries as well.
Per Callesen spoke about the huge backlog in investments in green technology, and how this is more a political than economic problem, as governments haven't yet shown enough willingness to push for green innovation. He also pointed out that the use of energy throughout the world is still very inefficient. If houses were better insulated and people could heat their houses more efficiently, one might find that combating climate change wouldn't cost as much as many estimate. He finally added that in developing countries, governments often subsidize the purchase of fossil fuels simply because it is the only commodity that they are certain their people need.
After the presentations, the moderator opened the floor up to discussion. Most questions focused on the paper, asking about the research method and suggesting additional areas that needed to be explored in order to give even better predictions for the future.
Download the complete No Green Growth without Innovation paper.